Decatur County millage increase will total 4.13 mills; hearings to be held in September

At their Tuesday meeting, Decatur County commissioners approved their 2015-2016 budget and officially announced how much the millage rate will increase for county taxpayers.

Former interim county administrator Perry Henry said that overall county spending has not increased much in the last year, and explained that the millage rate increase, which will affect property taxes, was mostly due to factors outside of the day-to-day operation of the county.

Of the 4.13 mills, 2 mills will go to Memorial Hospital in Bainbridge to help the hospital with paying the cost of providing indigent care to people who don’t have insurance and do not have any way of paying their bills. The county’s contribution to the hospital could be lower than 2 mills in the future, Henry said.

1.5 mills will be levied to both City of Bainbridge residents and residents living outside Bainbridge, to help pay for a new joint recreational authority which will begin operating in July 2016.

Approximately 0.85 mills will be shared among county taxpayers living outside Bainbridge, to help pay for the cost of the county fire department, the county’s industrial park and the county airport.

County commissioners will hold three hearings on the proposed millage rate increase. The first two will be held Tuesday, Sept. 8, with one in the morning and another in the evening. The times will be announced by the end of this week, County Administrator Alan Thomas said. The final hearing will be held before county commissioners’ meeting on Sept. 22.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Decatur County commissioners agreed to pay $68,000 to Streamline, a roofing contractor based in Tallahassee, Fla., to repair the roof at the Decatur County Courthouse. Over the past two years, offices and hallways within the courthouse have experienced water damage caused by leaks in the roof.

Streamline was the only company to bid on the roof repair project, County Administrator Alan Thomas said.

Thomas said county commissioners sent out a request for proposals to 5 companies and advertised the bid in the local newspaper, but only received the one bid. However, Thomas said that from what he has been told, paying the $68,000 should be considered a fairly low amount compared to the extent of the roof damage.

County commissioners also agreed to purchase three used Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs for use by the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office. The SUVs were formerly owned by the federal government and each had about 50-60 thousand miles on them. The SUVs cost $18,000 each, or $56,000 in all.

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