Millage to stay at 6-year level

WINNSBORO – In a 5-2 vote, Fairfield County Council members passed second reading to leave the county’s millage rate the same as it has been for the last six years, at 181.8 mils.

Voting against, without disclosing why, were Councilmen Moses Bell and Mikal Trapp.

“Our auditor, Ms. Peggy Hensley, feels that the proposed 181.8 mils will generate the $26,239,922 needed to meet what the county council has budgeted for this fiscal year,” County Administrator Jason Taylor said. “It will generate a balanced budget.”

Councilman Moses Bell asked if the value of the mil will also stay the same as it was last year.

“No, it will not,” Taylor answered. “The value of the mil right now is roughly $144,000, but that’s just a snapshot. The mil fluctuates. Hopefully all these new companies we’ve brought in the last couple of years will help raise that millage value. Unfortunately, we always lose some, such as with the nuclear plant, which will offset it.”

The County’s financial director, Anne Bass, explained to Bell that as property values change, the mil value will change and generate more or less tax revenue.

Bell said that, looking at the numbers, it appears that, over the last four years, property values in the county have increased about 20 – 24 percent.

“We strive to have the value of the mil go up,” Taylor said. “We want to see it go up. That’s a sign we have a healthy local economy.”

Council Chairman Neil Robinson asked Taylor if, in the future, the mil could be decided at the time the budget is voted on.

“That would be my preference,” Taylor said. “We have had discussions with our attorney on how to do this. I was always accustomed to that in the past – passing the millage along with the budget. That way you know better how much revenue you have coming in before you develop the budget.”

The third and final vote on the millage rate will be held Nov. 9 in council chambers.