County to cut tax rate?
Warren says county millage rate may drop
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
Morgan County Commissioner Ellen Warren told about three dozen citizens gathered at a town hall meeting Monday night that the 2009 county millage rate may drop in coming months, as County Manager Michael Lamar continues to move through the budget process.
“[Lamar] feels that we can reduce it even further this year, so there will be another rollback on the millage,” said Warren.
Lamar confirmed that he hopes to recommend a further rollback to 8.35, from this year’s 8.43. The preliminary total budget figure for fiscal year 2009 is a projected $14.6 million, said Lamar. After the county-wide re-evaluation last year, tax revenues for 2008 are not expected to increase significantly, said Lamar.
County officials expect budgets for the next few years to be tighter than ever, as shake-ups in the Georgia Department of Transportation mean that very little state money will be available to supplement the county’s roads and bridges program.
“The DOT had 9,000 approved projects across the state [for this year], and only money for about 2,000 of those,” said Warren. “The bottom line is—we’re not looking to receive any state money from DOT while they’re getting their house in order. Those burdens are going to fall on the county.”
Total expenses in the county spiked slightly in 2007, as the renovations to the county courthouse were completed and the final bills paid. In fiscal year 2007, total county expenses were $16.4 million, according to audited statements, up from $13.3 million in fiscal year 2006. Final figures from 2008 are not yet available.