BOC adopt millage rate rollback

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

Henry County’s 2016 millage rate is the lowest in five years.

The Board of Commissioners voted July 27 to adopt a full rollback of the millage this year, from 13.873 to 12.733, in the final public hearing on the matter. The vote was 4-0 as Chairman Tommy Smith was absent from the meeting. Brian Preston resigned his seat earlier in July.

The millage jumped from 11.750 in 2011 to 14.500 in 2012. The next two years it stood at 14.497 before it was lowered to 13.873 in 2015.

There were three public hearings as required by law since anything other than a full rollback is considered a tax increase due to the increase in property values over the past year. Various options for funding the 2016-2017 budget were presented at the earlier hearings by county manager Lyndon Bonner and finance director Fred Auletta. The commissioners were vocal in their support for adopting the full rollback to benefit taxpayers.

“I would like to thank the employees of Henry County,” said Commissioner Blake Prince. “We asked them to tighten their belts, and they did, and it’s afforded us the opportunity to not only get the public safety initiative taken care of, but it’s allowed us to give 100 percent rollback to our constituents.”

Fellow commissioners Bruce Holmes and Gary Barham also voiced their support of the full rollback.

“I’d like to commend our staff for doing an excellent job,” said Barham. “We’re trying to do the right thing here by putting money back to the taxpayers and I support this one hundred percent.”

The county approved a $142,560,218 budget in May. That included a public safety pay plan in which $2.1 million was allocated to reset those employees’ pay scale and pay grades. Another $1.2 million went toward a 4-percent across-the-board raise for other eligible county employees.

Other budget items include staffing the upcoming Hampton senior-recreation center and Fire Station 15 as well as a proposed employee health clinic and increases in employee health insurance premiums.