September 4, 2014 10:58:51 AM
The public will have an opportunity to speak with city leaders about a proposed 1.1-mill tax increase today.
Mayor Robert Smith and the Columbus City Council will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. at the Columbus Municipal Complex.
The city plans to increase the millage rate from 40.13 to 41.23 to help finance debt on a $5 million bond issue, which is being used to pave roads, install sidewalks and improve drainage.
Projected revenues for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, total $25,463,890. Of that, $5,025,000 is proposed to be financed through ad valorem taxes.
The value of a general city mill is expected to decrease from $172,000 to $167,000 when the new fiscal year begins.
Mills are a calculation of property taxes. One mill is worth one thousandth of a dollar. Determining how much money you'll pay in one year in property taxes is calculated by multiplying the value of your property by 10 percent and multiplying that result by .001. That amount, which equals the tax for one mill, is then multiplied by the millage rate, which is currently 40.13. A person who owns a $100,000 home in Columbus right now pays $401.30 a year in property taxes to the city of Columbus. The proposed increase would add $11.10 to that amount.
That does not include the city school district's 65.87 rate.
City leaders have hashed out the proposed budget over several meetings. At one stage of the process, the budget included proposed raises for all employees as well as a $10,000 raise for Smith, but financial constraints prompted councilmen to rescind all proposed employee raises in a subsequent work session to avoid a large deficit.
On Aug. 21, councilmen adjourned their last budget work session facing a projected $300,582 deficit for next year. Chief financial officer Milton Rawle said that would be paid off with the city's ending cash balance and, if necessary, reserve funds.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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