Henry County Times

By Monroe Roark Times Correspondent An apparent inability among some members of the Henry County Board of Commissioners to understand the budgeting and millage process led to a dead- locked vote July 31 and the fail- ure to pass the millage rate for the next fiscal year. After approximately 45 minutes of discussion about an ongoing class and compensation study that has nothing to do with the millage rate itself, the first mo- tion to set the millage rate failed for lack of a second, and the en- suing motion for the same rate re- sulted in a 3-3 vote. Johnny Wilson, Blake Prince and board chair June Wood voted in favor of the motion, while Gary Barham, Dee Clemmons and Bruce Holmes did not. Now the deadline is extremely tight. A called meeting has been scheduled for Monday, Aug. 13, at 9 a.m. to adopt the millage rate. The proposed millage rate was 12.733, which is the exact same rate as was adopted last year. But the coming year will bring in $6 million more in rev- enue because of the increase in the tax digest. “We need to do it fairly quickly,” said county tax com- missioner David Curry, citing the schedule for the tax digest being updated within a few days. When asked by Wood for a legal opinion of the situation, county attorney Patrick Jaugstetter made it clear: “You have to have a mill- age rate in order to collect prop- erty taxes. If you don’t have one, you won’t be collecting any prop- erty taxes.” Holmes and Clemmons pointed out during their comments that they had problems with the study and how the money set aside for employee compensation would be allocated. But county manager Cheri Hobson-Matthews pointed out that the $4 million figure being thrown around during the discussion has not even been ap- proved and would have to come to the board later anyway. Matthews reminds the board that it adopted a budget in May that would require this millage rate being considered. Jaugstetter seconded that notion. “You’ve already approved your budget,” he said. “You’re not budgeting today. You’re funding today.” Curry said that without a vote on the millage his office would not be able to send out tax bills or collect revenue. The budget for the 2019 fiscal year was adopted in May. The millage rate hearings and subse- quent adoption are separate from the budget but are needed to au- thorize collections. State law requires three public hearings before adopting a mill- age rate that would result in an increased amount of tax revenue, whether it be from an increase in the rate itself or a property value increase that leads to a higher tax bill. The first two hearings took place July 24. The county tax makes up about 37 percent of a property owner’s overall bill. The Board of Educa- tion receives 58 percent, 50 of which is for operations and 8 per- cent for its bonds. The remaining 5 percent is the 2-mill payment toward the Henry County Water Authority’s bonds. The gross tax digest, before ex- emptions, now totals $24.85 bil- lion. The largest portion of that is residential ($12.86 billion), fol- lowed by industrial ($7.01 bil- lion) and commercial ($3.98 billion). The new county budget calls for 53.72 percent to be spent on pub- lic safety, far ahead of any other areas. The next highest designations are legislative/executive (13.06 percent) and judicial system (10.91). Visit us online at www.henrycountytimes.com August 8, 2018 Volume 17, No. 32 The Times travels to Oregon. See page 10. Proudly celebrating over sixteen years of faithfully serving our readers, the people of Henry County The Henry County Celebrating Henry County Prst. Standard US Postage Paid Permit No. 260 McDonough, GA CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED Henry Water Authority awarded at Savannah conference. Turn to page 7. Times By Jason A. Smith Times Correspondent Country-music singer John Berry said bringing his faith into his music is not a new concept for him, and that he has strived to stay true to that faith through- out his career. “It’s one of the most important parts of my life,” said Berry. “Everything else falls in line be- hind that.” Groups of 20 people or more will get in for $12 per ticket. Berry will headline a Perfect Harmony concert featuring the Poet Voices gospel quartet Au- gust 17 at 7 p.m., at the Henry County Performing Arts Center, 37 Lemon St., in McDo- nough.Doors will open at 6:15 p.m. General admission tickets for the show, presented by Her- itage Bank and New Life Radio, are $15 in advance or $20 at the John Berry, Poet Voices to perform in McDonough Country musician John Berry will performAugust 17 at the Henry County Performing Arts Cen- ter along with Poet Voices gospel quartet. Special photo see Berry, page 6 Commissioners face deadline to approve millage Briefs Geranium Slam this Weekend Henry County Cancer Services will host their 2018 Geranium Slam August 11-12 from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. at Richard Craig Ten- nis Park in McDonough. Tickets are available at www.hen- rycounty cancerservices.com Movie in the Park in Hampton Main Street Hampton will pres- ent the movie, The Lorax on Sat- urday, August 11 at 8:30 p.m. at McBrayer Park. They will have popcorn, sodas and glowsticks available for guests. McBrayer Park is located at 10 Central Av- enue in Hampton. For more in- formation, call Main Street Hampton at 770-946-4306. Fall Youth Softball Signups The McDonough Youth Associ- ation is holding Fall Softball signups online from now until August 17 at www.myayouth .org. They will hold a walk-up registration onAugust 11 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Alexander Park, 300 Atlanta Street in McDo- nough.