As they begin their spring budget processes, Barrow County’s government and school officials are facing tough choices. For the fifth straight year, the tax digest — which is the compilation of the taxable value of all real estate in Barrow County — is expected to decline. No one knows at this point how far the drop will be. Chief appraiser Cecil Highfield has said the school system’s recent estimate of an additional 10-percent decline is “somewhere between the best-case scenario and a middle-of-the-road scenario.”
County and school officials have managed to keep operations afloat during the five-year economic downturn by making significant spending cuts. The county government’s cuts included two rounds of layoffs and multiple salary cuts. The school board’s most visible austerity measures included teacher furlough days and a shortened school calendar. But a tax hike by the BOE may be in the future. The general consensus of board members Tuesday night was to keep a possible tax rate hike on the table as an option for FY2014, which starts July 1, but to wait until after the 2013 Tax Digest is complete in August before setting the actual BOE rate.
For the full story, see the April 10 issue of the Barrow Journal.
Local gov’ts facing more financial pressure; BOE discusses possible tax hike following years of digest decline
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