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Public hearing dates change for proposed tax hike

The three hearing dates have been changed for the public to discuss the proposed Screven County Board of Education increase of the property taxes.
The BOE will levy this year by 13.52 percent over the rollback millage rate.
The proposed increase would be 1.846 mills.
The first two of the three public hearings originally was scheduled for today, July 30, but now the hearings on this tax increase will be in the Board Room of the Screven County School System located at 382 Halcyondale Road in Sylvania, on Aug. 6 at noon and 6 p.m.; and Aug. 13 at 4 p.m.
The tentative millage increase will result in a millage rate of 15.50 mills. The proposed tax increase for a residence with a fair market value of $100,000 is approximately $70.15 and the proposed tax increase for nonhomestead property with a fair market value of $100,000 is approximately $73.84.
To reduce expenses over the years, the BOE had reductions in force; eliminations of field trips; and cutbacks on the number of days students attend school each year.
Superintendent William Bland said the school system has continued to dip into its reserves, but there are not enough additional funds to operate the school system in the reserves now.
Without a millage increase, multiple programs would have to be cut.
Since the 2008-2009 school year, the Screven County School System has endured cuts to programs and personnel due to reductions in state funding, while absorbing unfunded mandates.
With increased accountability and class sizes, the school system can no longer continue to make major cuts and sustain a system that meets the needs of our students and community.
The budget tentatively adopted by the Screven County Board of Education requires a millage rate higher than the rollback millage rate.
Therefore, before the Screven County Board of Education may set a final millage rate, Georgia Law requires that three public hearings be held to allow the public an opportunity to express their opinions on this increase.