County Property Tax Hike May Be Coming

May 24, 2023
By: Dwayne Page

Its been four years since the property tax rate in DeKalb County was increased but another one may be coming soon.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, County Mayor Matt Adcock informed the budget committee that the county’s financial advisor Steve Bates is recommending that the tax rate be increased by almost 27 cents per $100 of assessed value (.2692) and that all the increase go into the county general fund. If approved this would amount to a total county property tax rate of $2.00 per $100 of assessed value, an increase from the current tax rate of $1.7308.

Four years ago, the county commission at that time increased the property tax rate by 29 cents per $100 of assessed value to $2.1235 but after reappraisal two years ago property assessments changed, and the county’s certified rate dropped to $1.7308 although the new rate was expected to generate about the same total amount of local revenue as the previous year.

According to County Mayor Adcock, revenues have not kept up with expenditures in recent years forcing the county to use more of its fund balance (cash reserves) to balance the budget each year. For the current fiscal year, the county general operation is expected to dip into its fund balance by up to $1.7 million dollars. According to Bates, County Mayor Adcock said a tax increase of .2692 cents would get the county general fund out of the red and into the black (at least $54,582) by the end of the 2023-24 year.

The budget committee has not yet acted. County Mayor Adcock said its up to the committee whether to accept Bates’ recommendation for a .2692 tax hike, recommend a smaller increase, or recommend no increase at all. Ultimately whatever the budget committee recommends will go to the full county commission which will make the final decision on the tax rate with passage of the budget.

County Mayor Adcock said he believes Bates’ recommendation is a good one and warned that doing nothing would risk the county ‘s financial situation getting worse going forward.

If approved as recommended by Bates, the county property tax rate would break down as follows:

County General: $1.2583, up from the current level of 0.9891 cents
Highways/Public Works: 0.0326 cents (no increase)
General Capital Projects: 0.0733 cents (no increase)
Debt Service: 0.1060 cents (no increase)
General Purpose Schools: 0.5298 cents (no increase)

Total proposed tax rate: $2.00, up from current level of $1.7308 cents

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