See this week's edition for the full five-year tax digest history.
Members of the Pickens County Board of Commissioners have proposed a millage rate of 7.779 for 2019, which will levy $11.29 million in taxes.
Last year’s millage rate was 7.846. At the commissioners’ work session, Pickens Finance Officer Faye Harvey explained that 7.779 mills is the “rollback” rate, which the county is able to use this year because of the $40.3 million net increase to the 2019 county tax digest.
The new rate, if approved by commissioners at their regular meeting later this month, will result in slightly more tax collections – 1.98 percent or $218,672 – but Harvey said it is not considered a tax increase. The county is not required to hold public hearings if they use the rollback rate.
The digest’s increase came by and large from the $44.9 million increase in real and personal property. The tax digest history shows that real and personal property has increased the last five consecutive years, with larger increases each year. The real and personal property values increased: $39.5 million in 2018; $37 million in 2017; $18.2 million in 2016; and $10.1 million in 2015.
The county’s net digest has shifted from a net decrease of $7.8 million in 2015 to a net increase of $26 million in 2018 and $40.3 million this year. Changes to the way motor vehicles are taxed have significantly impacted the net digest - motor vehicle tax collections decreased from $75.2 million in 2014 to $24.4 million in 2018.
“The county continues to grow,” said Pickens Chief Tax Assessor Roy Dobbs. “When you look at all the cars on the street and all the other activity we’re seeing, there is a lot going on in Pickens County.”
Dobbs said the net increase is more impressive when the significant TAVT losses are taken into account.
Looking ahead, Dobbs believes Pickens will continue to see an increase to the digest.
“From everything we’re seeing and the level of transactions, people want to come here,” he said. “When you look at the aerial photography from the last several years you can definitely see the development. We’ve got more opportunity than we know what to do with.”
Other news from the commissioners’ meeting:
•Water superintendent Phillip Dean reported his crews worked around the clock the weekend of August 31st to restore water service to residents in Lawson’s Landing in far east Pickens. The water infrastructure in that area was privately installed many years ago, but was later taken over by the county. Dean said the system the county “inherited” was a “jumbled up mess. It went from PVC pipe to galvanized. We got every bit of it replaced and got the water back on about 11 Sunday night.”
Dean noted that most residents were understanding, despite being out of water for two days. He thanked his crews for working daunting hours. “These guys were away from their families for 46 hours,” he said. “They don’t want to do that. They want to be home with their kids.” Dean said half of the customers are hooked onto the new system, with about 20-30 left to connect.
•Paving on Parker Road began Monday, with the only two roads remaining in the county’s Phase I paving project to be Quail Walk and a portion of Bent Tree Drive. Repairs to Grandview Road incurred during work to the dam will begin this week as well.
•Parks & Rec Director Brian Jones said they will use money received from the Coca-Cola vending contract to redo dugouts on fields one and two. The rec. department wants to replace the cinder block dugouts with chain link fencing and a roof to provide more ventilation and better visibility.
•Commissioner Jones thanked EMA & Fire Chief Sloan Elrod for the department’s quick response when the state requested Pickens County send an ambulance to coastal Georgia, which was under mandatory hurricane evacuation orders at the time. He thanked the EMTs, as well as Pickens’ Chief Magistrate Judge Allen Wigington and Jeremy Jones for volunteering to take the ambulance “to help out.” The request was cancelled about the time the ambulance made it to Locust Grove, Ga. but the county will be reimbursed for the trip.
•Bids for improvements to the county road and water department facilities will go out in the next two weeks.
•The county received a final $33,000 reimbursement check from the Federal Emergency Management Agency from damage caused by Hurricane Irma two years ago.
•Dobbs reported that the QPublic website now shows updated aerial photography taken in 2018.