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Taxes rise with loss of state relief
Most Bulloch property owners can expect hike
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    Bulloch County property tax bills will be mailed out Friday and Tax Commissioner James W. Deal said many homeowners should expect an increase.
    The state homestead tax relief grant that funded an increased homestead credit for the past several years is not available this year. The grant approved by the General Assembly and the governor to counties, cities, schools, and special districts has given tax relief to homeowners in the form of a credit on property tax bills. But Georgia legislators passed House Bill 143 earlier this year, which ties the grant's future each year to state revenues growing at least 3 percent, plus the rate of inflation.
    Deal said declining state revenues during the current recession means there is no money for the state to give tax relief to homeowners in 2009. That will translate into a property tax increase of up to $161.12 on the 2009 tax bills for Bulloch homeowners who received full value of the grant for 2008. Homeowners in the Bulloch Fire District will see an increase of up to $175.52. Deal said the increases assume the same values and millage rates as 2008 for a homesteaded property.
    “It's unfortunate in slow economic times to have to deliver this message,” Deal said. “But homeowners need to know now so they can plan accordingly with their household budgets or make sure that tax escrows are properly funded with their mortgage companies to handle the tax increase.”
    Some surrounding counties, including Bryan and Emanuel, increased their millage rates on top of the loss of the homeowners grant. The city of Statesboro, the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners and the Bulloch County Board of Education kept the same millage rates for 2009 as 2008.
    Tax bills have a due date of Dec. 1 and interest by law begins the day after the due date at the rate of 1 percent per month or a fraction thereof.  A one time 10 percent penalty would apply 90 days after the due date on any unpaid balance.
    The tax bill is based on values, descriptions, and other factors from the Tax Assessors office to which is applied the current millage rates and exemptions to generate a bill each year.
    If you have any questions about your tax bill, call the Tax Commissioner's office at 912-764-6285 or email Deal at  Please reference your bill number when emailing or calling.
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