The Barrow County Board of Commissioners voted last Thursday to adopt the millage rate for the 2018 tax digest, utilizing rollbacks. However, property owners will see higher tax bills due to the levy of a tax to pay for debt associated with voter-approved SPLOST — special-purpose local-option sales tax — projects.

With a 6-0 vote — commissioner Roger Wehunt was absent — the board voted to set the rate at 9.374 for the incorporated areas (utilizing a 2.936-mill sales tax rollback) and 7.356 for the unincorporated areas (using the same sales tax rollback and a 2.018 insurance premium rollback).

The county fire district rate remained the same at 2.28, and the Barrow County Board of Education opted to keep the school district rate at 18.5 without any rollbacks.

The rate for the general obligation bond debt collection was set at 2.113 mills. The county had been paying the debt from SPLOST proceeds as part of an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Winder, but that will no longer be the case as the county and city did not reach an IGA for the new five-year, voter-approved SPLOST 2018 collection period.

While the FY19 payment of $4.55 million will be made with monies collected from SPLOST 2012 proceeds, the FY20 payment will require $4.5 million in real property tax collections and just under $73,000 in motor vehicle tax collections, according to the county figures.

The payment won’t be made until its due date of Oct. 1, 2019, but since property-tax bills are issued in October, if the county waited until next year to levy the tax, it would not have the money to make the payment on time, county finance director Rose Kisaalita said last month.

The payments for FY19 and FY20 payments will be housed in a $9.12 million debt service fund.

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