Today is the public's final opportunity to weigh in on Barrow County's proposed budget and property tax rate hike inside Winder for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.
A public hearing on the proposed FY2014 budget and rate hike was last week on Sept. 11, and two public hearings were scheduled for today at noon and at 6 p.m. The subject of today's hearings is the county's proposed tax hike in Winder, but public comment about the FY2014 budget also is being accepted.
Winder property owners pay a lower county tax rate to help compensate for the city fire tax that funds Winder's separate fire services. But if the budget and tax hike are adopted tonight as expected, the county's ad valorem tax rate inside Winder will rise from the current 10.957 mills to 12.313 mills — an increase of 1.356 mills.
Also at stake is more than $777,000 in combined funding cuts to the budgets for the sheriff's office and jail.
At today's noon hearing, no member of the public spoke against the planned rate hike in Winder. But two representatives of the local building industry questioned the planned outsourcing of building inspection services, and two residents spoke about their dissatisfaction with the services of the sheriff's office. In addition, Winder resident Robert Lanham called on the sheriff to look for greater efficiencies in his operations before coming back during the upcoming fiscal year to request more money.
The 6 p.m. hearing and 7 p.m. voting session will be in the BOC meeting room at 233 E. Broad St. in Winder. To sign up to speak, contact the county clerk by calling 770-307-3005 or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sign-up sheet also is available outside the meeting room.
Also tonight, the Barrow County Board of Education will meet at 6 p.m. at 179 W. Athens St. to adopt its FY2014 budget and property tax rate. The rate is to remain 18.5 mills.
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