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City receives crash course in property tax collections from county assessor


November 28, 2019

DAYTON—Many of us don’t fully understand the ins and outs of property tax collections for governmental bodies.

Columbia County Assessor Chris Mills shed some light on the subject at last week’s special city council meeting.

Mills said the City of Dayton is allowed to increase its budget for property tax collection by 1 percent over what the city received in 2019, if not reduced by Fire District 3 and the Library District levies.

She said the grand total that could have been received in 2019 is $420,121, making the one percent increase for the 2020 tax year $4,201.

She went on to say, “Due to the reduction by the other two districts the city only received $365,572 in property taxes in 2019. Then we add on for new construction.”

Mills said new construction in the City of Dayton this year was $779,290.

“We multiply this number by the 2019 levy rate to give us a dollar figure of $1,769,” she said.

The levy rate this year was 2.27/$1,000 of assessed value.

“The city is allowed to increase their budget by this amount in addition to the one percent increase previously stated,” Mills said.

She said adding these figures together would give the city $426,091 in tax revenue and a levy rate of 2.56/ for the 2020 tax year, if they were not reduced by the FD and Library District.

“However, since you are limited by these two other taxing Districts we take the maximum levy rate allowed, by statute, which is $3.60, and then we subtract the levy rate for those two districts, leaving a rate of $2.25 cents for the City of Dayton, for the 2020 tax year. It calculates out to $374,010 for 2020. So, this is an increase from 2019 to 2020 in the amount of $8,438.

That one percent is $4,201, she said.

Dain Nysoe, who is on the city council, asked Mills about long-term consequences if the property tax is not increased by one percent.

Mills said over the long term a bank capacity could be created.

“But I know the city has done that before, but being reduced by the Fire District and Library District, you don’t really ever capture that bank capacity because you are always reduced,’ Mills explained.

“Ever since you have annexed the Library and Fire Districts I’ve never seen you have been able to use any of that,” she said. “You are always limited by that reduction.”

Delphine Bailey said one percent seems like a big tax hike, but the city has many expenses and the one percent tax increase “doesn’t even touch it.”

Mills said the only real way to increase the city’s budget is through growth.

“The city has to have growth,” she said. “We didn’t even hit $800,000 in new construction this year.”

Nysoe agreed.

“Otherwise we are going to be stagnant or worse,” he said.

Mills said the overall tax rate hasn’t changed by much. Adjustments to values are locked in around the middle of December, she said.

Mayor Zac Weatherford presented the Preliminary Budget for 2020 at the Nov. 20 city council meeting. He said the one percent property tax increase, in the amount of $4,201, was included in that budget.

The final hearing for the City’s budget for 2020 budget will take place at the City Hall, on Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m.

At last week’s meeting, the Dayton City Council authorized Resolution 1397, a one percent property tax increase in the amount of $4,201, for 2020.

The Council also authorized resolution No. 1957 revising Title 11, Zoning, as part of the 2019 Comprehensive Plan Update with amendments as discussed at the Nov. 20 meeting.

And the Council authorized a professional services agreement with Community Forestry Consultants, Inc., not to exceed $14,000, for the 2019 Main Street Trees Inventory and Management Plan.

Delphine Bailey said, “This is money we received from a grant to look into the trees and what we need to do.”

Planning Director Meagan Bailey said an arborist from Community Forestry Consultants will be in Dayton on Nov. 26 to study the trees and she is willing to provide that person with any public comment.


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