SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter and Alderwoman Alicia Miller Blakely hosted a virtual town hall on Friday to discuss Savannah’s millage rate.
Savannah City Council has tentatively adopted a 2020 millage rate which will require an increase in property taxes by .92 percent.
Gibson-Carter and Blakely said they wanted to ensure the council is listening to citizens before adopting the tax rate.
“I know it might sound as if $4 or $5 or $7 dollars might not mean a lot to some people but for individuals that’s on fixed incomes that is a lot,” Blakely said.
Gibson-Carter and Blakely said now is not the time to increase property taxes on Savannah residents. So in next weeks millage rate vote, they will be asking for a decrease in property taxes.
A tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 12.856 mills, an increase of .117 mills. Without this tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than 12.739 mills.
“I do not think our budget with regard to the deficit should be balanced on the backs of our hardworking citizens,” Gibson-Carter said.
The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $100,000 is approximately $4.68 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $500,000 is approximately $23.40.
Mayor Van Johnson said in a press briefing earlier this week that the council has two options, either keep the current millage rate or decrease property taxes, but if a rollback is passed the city will be short $600,000.
“While $600,000 might not appear to be a lot in the grand scheme of the overall $12.1 million deficit it is a lot to ask a citizen, to ask our citizens, to take on this responsibility,” Blakely said.
Gibson-Carter said her vote is in no way meant to take away money from city services rather to help Savannahians who are struggling throughout this pandemic.
The public is welcome to attend two remaining hearings on this tax increase on Aug. 13 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers, located on the corner of Bull and Bay streets.
Written comments become public record and are shared with the mayor and aldermen prior to the council meeting.
City of Savannah millage rates