BOE Clarifies Tax Increase Ad

Newton County School System Clarifies Misconception Surrounding Tax Increase Advertisement
Posted on 06/26/2023
BOE AnnouncementNewton County School System recently placed a budget advertisement in the community’s legal organ, The Covington News, which mentioned a "tax increase." The district would like to clarify that the perceived tax increase is not a result of the school system raising the property tax millage rate, but rather due to increased property values assessments determined by the Newton County Tax Assessor’s Office. Although the school system has not proposed an increase in the property tax millage rate, the district is required by law to advertise the property value assessment increase as a tax increase.

1. Property Tax Assessments: Property tax assessments are an essential component of determining the amount of tax payable by property owners. Assessments are conducted by local government authorities to reflect the current market value of properties within a given area. In Newton County, the Tax Assessor’s Office conducts property assessments.

2. Market Value Fluctuations: Over the past year, the real estate market in our community has experienced significant fluctuations, resulting in higher property values for many property owners. These increased property values directly impact the assessed value of properties, which in turn affects the property tax payable by owners.

3. School System's Property Tax Rate: It is important to note that the school system has not proposed or implemented an increase in the property tax millage rate. The tax rate currently remains unchanged at 16.788 mills—the lowest total school millage rate in 25 years. Any “increase in taxes” is solely due to the higher assessed property values.

4. Funding Education: Funding public education is a shared responsibility between the State of Georgia and the local county in which a school system is located. The school system relies on both state and local funding (property taxes) to fund various educational initiatives, student programs, and other necessary operational expenses. However, the school system has made every effort to maintain the lowest tax millage rate possible to ensure adequate school system funding while working to alleviate the increasing financial burden on property owners.

We encourage all Newton County property owners to review their property tax assessments to understand how their individual taxes may be affected. As an important update, Governor Brian Kemp recently signed legislation proposed by the Newton County Board of Education to allow a special election to vote on providing greater tax relief for eligible senior citizens. The proposed exemptions are based on reaching age 65, income, and property values. Now that the legislation has been signed by the governor, Newton County’s registered voters will have the opportunity to vote on the proposal. If passed by the voters, eligible seniors in Newton County will receive a reduction in their school system taxes and some may even receive a full exemption beginning in 2024.