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City of Savannah will increase property taxes

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) - If you live in the City of Savannah, you'll be paying more for property taxes. The city council on Thursday approved an increase as part of a budget-balancing measure.

The increase will see average homeowners paying an extra $55 per year or $4.60 a month.

That $55 is based on the assumption that the person owns a home valued at about $150,000.

The action from the city council means a property tax increase of 7.3 percent and comes on the heels of the council abandoning the controversial fire fee.

But officials say without money from the fee, something has to give, and thus the increase in property tax. (The average $55 increase in taxes is less than the anticipated $200 annual fire fee.)

Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach made a point of saying that taxes in the city have basically not gone up much if at all in the past decade.

He said the 2017 millage rate of 12.48 is slightly under the 2007 millage rate of 12.50. 

The council's action Thursday raises the rate by .92 mills for a new rate of 13.40 mills. 

Pam Sutton who lives near downtown said it's all too much, even if the mayor touted that average homeowners would only pay an extra $55 per year.

She said homeowners are also being hit with a property tax increase from the school district.

The district's tax hike is a little more than 13 percent. Average homeowners would pay as much as $150 for the school increase or more depending on their property value and whether they have certain exemptions.

"If it keeps going up many people who are about to retire or who want to retire may have a more difficult time staying in their homes," Sutton said.

City Manager Rob Hernandez said in the council's afternoon session that if there was a "magic funding bullet" he's certain that city staff would have found it by now.

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