Hearings into school board decision not to roll back taxes

6/13/2014, 4:53 a.m.

DeKalb homeowners won’t be getting a millage rollback from the DeKalb School Board this year even though their property assessments are rising, compliments of the stabilizing economy and the rebirth of the real estate market.

In a statement Thursday, the School Board said that state law requires it to announce its intention not to roll back the millage rate to compensate for an increase in DeKalb County property tax assessments and to hold three public hearings so that residents can express their opinions on the increased revenues that result from reassessments.

“Therefore, in accordance with state law, the DeKalb County Board of Education announces its intention to increase the property taxes it will recommend to be levied this year by 6.54 percent over the rollback rate,” it said.

The public hearings will take place June 25 at 6 p.m. and at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on July 7 at its Administrative & Instructional Complex in Stone Mountain.

Across the county, as property values rebound from a 2012 low, property owners have been receiving notices this month from County Tax Assessor Calvin Hicks showing higher tax assessments on their properties.

In 2012, the values of the county’s 227,694 properties declined $3 billion, or 6 percent, going to $44.2 billion from $47.2 billion in 2011.

School District spokesman Jeff Dickerson said that the School Board has not increased the millage rate.

“Under state law, if there is an increase in revenue collections without a rollback in the millage rate, every taxing authority must advertise it as a ‘tax increase,’” he said.

Dickerson said the board intends to retain a 6.54 percent increase in revenue resulting from higher assessed property values.

“The district will use the additional revenue to eliminate all furlough days, restore the 180-day school year, give teachers a 1 percent pay raise and bolster the School District’s reserves,” he said.

The School Board said that the increase in its property tax collections will result directly from an increase in overall reassessments of properties – not from an increase in the millage rate.

“The DeKalb County Board of Education does not assess property in DeKalb County and has no control over the assessed value of county property,” it said.

When the total digest of taxable property is prepared, state law requires that a rollback millage rate must be computed to produce the same total revenue on the current year’s digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced had no reassessments occurred.

“Due to the impact of the Great Recession, the DeKalb County Board of Education is considering maintaining its present millage rate in order to fully fund its academic school year and to continue to rebuild its financial reserves,” the board said.

Public hearings

The DeKalb School Board is holding three public hearings into its decision not to roll back the millage rate to compensate for higher revenues from increased property tax assessments.

The meetings take place in the Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd. in Stone Mountain:

  • June 25 at 6 p.m.
  • July 7 at 11 a.m.
  • July 7 at 6:30 p.m.