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Public hearings on tax increase are reset due to errors in digest and notices

Errors in the county’s 2017 tax digest and in required public notices were discovered this week, and as a result both the Grady County Board of Commissioners and the Grady County Board of Education are being forced to readvertise and reschedule previously slated public hearings on proposed tax increases.
Corrected notices may be found in this edition of The Messenger.
Grady County Tax Commissioner Barbara Darus was up front and honest about her mistake that resulted in the value of motor vehicles for incorporated cities of Cairo and Whigham being underreported. Originally, Darus had submitted a digest that set the value of motor vehicles for city residents at $85,486 when actually it should have been $8,548,600.
“I left off two zeros, what can I say? At least we discovered it early enough in the process it will not cause a delay in mailing of the tax notices later this year,” Ms. Darus said.
In addition to the error on the motor vehicles section of the digest, the rollback of sales taxes and fire insurance premium taxes was miscalculated.
Darus says Grady County Administrator Carlos Tobar produced the five year history of tax levy report that was advertised, which contained the error, but Tobar said Tuesday afternoon that it was Darus’ error that caused the rollback for the unincorporated county to be adjusted from 4.230 mills to 2.613 mills.
The new hearing schedule for the Grady County commission’s public hearings is Thursday, Aug. 10 at 6 p.m. and Thursday Aug. 17 at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. All of the hearings will be held at the courthouse in the commission board room.
Because school taxes are based on the county budget, the school board’s required advertising was in error, as well.
The school board is rolling back the tax rate, but due to increased values of residential properties a net tax increase is the result and public hearings are required.
The new public hearing schedule for the school system is Wednesday, Aug. 9 at 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Tuesday, Aug. 15 at 7:30 a.m. All hearings will be held at the VanLandingham Center, 203 North Broad St.
A 14.86 percent tax increase is being proposed by county commissioners and school taxes are projected to increase 4.064 percent even with the lowering of the school tax rate.
County commissioners are continuing to review the county’s budget in hopes of making cuts and school system officials say in light of the revisions to the tax digest the school board may select to lower the millage rate even lower.
A final vote on 2017 taxes by the school board is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 15 and by the county commission on Thursday, Aug. 17 at 6 p.m.

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