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Property Tax Rollback

By: Bill Pearson
By: Bill Pearson

It looks like a normal neighborhood, and in many communities the homeowners would likely be looking at another year of property tax hikes, but that's not the case in Valdosta, where the millage rate has been rolled back yet again.

Larry Hanson, Valdosta City Manager, says, "We are very fortunate and I think that over the last decade or so we have made an effort to transform our local economy to one that is not property tax based, but is sales tax based."

While the millage rate reduction is a point of pride for city leaders, folks who live in Valdosta say they are concerned about the level of service they receive from the city. They hope the reduction in millage rate doesn't equal a reduction in services.

Brian Lacey, a Valdosta property owner, says, "I'd like to see the levels of services that Valdosta compared to a city like Columbus or Albany, where property taxes are higher, but certainly if service is at the same level, then having the lower property tax is a good thing."

City leaders say service is comparable, but it may be difficult to keep making these cuts in future years.

Hanson says, "We actually have the smallest piece of the whole tax puzzle and we're proud of that, but it also limits us in that there is little left we can reduce."

But for now, taxpayers will simply enjoy the latest property tax rollback.

Valdosta leaders say over the past decade the Azalea City has come to rely more on sales taxes, allowing the city to lower property tax rates on a regular basis.


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