The Harris County Board of Commissioners adopted the FY 2017-18 annual budget on June 20, 2017 after many public budget work sessions and much deliberation. Even with a 3% reduction in every department’s budget, the county’s property tax rate will need to increase from 6.14 mills to 8.64 mills, an increase of 41.25%. The portion of the city of West Point in Harris County will need to increase from 3.68 mills to 5.18 mills, an increase of 42.38%.
While the county’s property tax rate is proposed to increase, it does not mean that your individual property taxes will increase by 41.25% or 42.38%. For example, last year’s property taxes including county taxes and school board taxes for a home located in the unincorporated area of Harris County with a fair market value of $175,000 was approximately $1,729. With this proposed property tax increase, total taxes would be $1,904, an increase of $175 per year (10.1%) or $14.58 per month or $0.48 cents per day.
A property tax rate increase is necessary at this time due to flat property tax and sales tax revenue and increasing expenditures including:
- Addition of four new full-time Deputy Sheriff positions and five new patrol cars.
- Purchase and installation of a Next Generation 911 system to replace outdated 911 equipment and improvements to the county-wide public safety radio system.
- Increase of the equipment stipend for the volunteer fire departments.
- Purchase and installation of a fund accounting financial software package.
- Debt payments for the Community Center.
- Establishment of a Geographic Information System (GIS) system to support multiple county operations including the 911 Center, Community Development, Board of Tax Assessors, Sheriff’s Office, Public Works, and many other county departments.
- Establishment of a county-wide Information Technology department to oversee the county’s increasing use of computer technology and manage the county’s IT network and infrastructure.
- Improvements to the jail.
- Improvements to the prison including replacing the aging analog camera system with a modern digital system for officer safety.
- Development of Ellerslie Park.
- Reauthorization of a full-time Appraiser position.
- Purchase of equipment for the Vehicle Maintenance Dept.
- Increase in the Troup-Harris County Regional Library expenses due to the construction of a new and larger library facility.
- 2% cost of living allowance for all eligible county employees.
- 20% increase in employee health care cost.
Harris County’s property tax rate was last increased in 2002 and the county’s property tax rate with the proposed increase will continue to remain much lower than the surrounding counties’ property tax rates.
All concerned property owners and citizens are encouraged to attend and participate in the public hearings regarding this proposed property tax rate increase on Tuesday, August 1, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. All public hearings will be conducted in Room 223 of the Harris County Courthouse, 102 N. College Street, Hamilton, GA.