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Property owners in Warner Robins might see increased costs

The city has kept its millage rate the same for nearly 6 years.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Throughout Houston County, property owners will soon see an increase to their tax bill. In the City of Warner Robins, leaders say it's because of property values increasing. 

However, they say they're heavily relying on the money coming from this increase.

The city has kept its millage rate the same for nearly 6 years.

"For next calendar year, council and I are proposing that the rate stay the same at 9.98 mills," Mayor LaRhonda Patrick said.

Property values have gone up, causing tax bills to also rise.

"When you add that in cumulatively over the last three years that is a tremendous increase," Daryl Vining said.

Vining asked leaders at Tuesday's public hearing why they can't find ways to make up for the increase.

"We have a city map, looks like Swiss cheese. We have people that live in those areas that we completely surround, why can't we make them a part of the digest?" he asked.  

He says in the last three years, the reassessments are adding up, especially for the retired community who don't see an increasing income.

"We have some brilliant minds in our departments, I know we can find ways to find this money," Vining said.

Mayor LaRhonda Patrick says the city needs to focus on finding more revenue.

"If you look at other cities of comparable size, when you look at revenue they bring in every year, we are way below them. That's a major problem. That's a major concern," Patrick said.

The city has no say in the housing reassessment, but they do have a say in the millage rate. Patrick says they considered rolling back the rate to help citizens. 

"If we were to roll it back we would have to find $2.5 million somewhere else," Patrick said.

She says they don't have it. So they're keeping their millage rate the same to meet their 2024 budget and quality of service. 

Patrick says like property owners, the city is seeing increased costs and this is their best option.

"For the services that we're providing it costs us more too. What we cannot let occur is, letting us be working in the hole. We can't have that, at least not in my administration. So we have to make those types of tough decisions, and we've decided to do the 9.98 mills," she said.

They're looking for more strings of income so they can avoid this in the future. 

"If the county does another reassessment such as they've done for the last three years, the city of Warner Robins will have options to not have to rely on the $2.5 million increase," Patrick said.

She says they are working on cutting wasteful spending. She says going into the new fiscal year the city changed how they allocate money to departments, so it doesn't go to waste. She also says they cut down.

She says they're also looking into ways to get Local Option Sales Tax money to help with revenue.

"This year and last year, we've been working really hard to find new strings of revenue. To make sure we are getting our due share without touching taxes," Patrick said.

You can share your questions and concerns with the mayor and council at one of the next two public hearings. 

They will be at Warner Robins City Hall next Wednesday, September 13, at 6:00 p.m. and September 18 at noon. 

During the public hearing, the city's Tax Supervisor Keyiera Ezell said if you made a reassessment appeal and were approved by the county, you will receive two bills. 

The first will not reflect the change in price, the second will.

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