Helpful Information for Understanding Your Tax Bill October 2, 2015 Board of Commissioners , Tax Bills Forsyth County property tax bills have recently been mailed and are due November 15. Here’s some information to assist with understanding your 2015 tax bill. Tax bills reflect levies by three different entities: the Forsyth County Board of Education, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners (county government) and the State. As shown in the illustration below, Forsyth County government receives approximately 29% of the taxes you pay. What does the county’s portion of your tax bill include? The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners sets only the county’s portion of your tax bill (while the Board of Education sets theirs). The county government’s levies include three components which can be classified in two categories: What it takes to operate the county: Maintenance and Operations; Fire Voter-approved levies that have a defined purpose, limited amount and time: Bond What it takes to operate the county: Maintenance and Operations, and Fire Maintenance and Operations: The Board of Commissioners in July rolled back the county’s Maintenance and Operations millage rate to 4.642 mills, a reduction of 0.170 mills. The rollback rate is the tax rate that will generate the same amount of property tax revenues as the year prior. The rollback rate was adopted to offset increased values from reassessments. Increases in the county’s tax collections, however, will come from new construction which adds to the tax digest. Fire: The Fire millage rate funds the Fire Department and remained unchanged at 1.975 mills. Voter-approved levy that will have a defined purpose, limited amount and time: Bond Bond: When voters approve for the county to issue debt for a General Obligation Bond, that debt must be repaid via property taxes. In November 2014, more than 63% of voters approved the Forsyth County Transportation Bond to fund a variety of transportation projects. Accordingly, the Bond millage rate increased 0.55 mills to 1.419 mills, reflecting the debt service requirements for the Transportation Bond. The 0.55 mills increase covers the first $100 million of the voter-approved Transportation Bond, which was issued in April. While the timing of the issuance of the remaining $100 million of the Transportation Bond has not yet been determined, that issuance may not impact tax bills as the Board of Commissioners has adopted a Resolution expressing its intent to fund the remaining $100 million via a continuation of the SPLOST sales tax program, if approved by voters. The Transportation Bond enabled the county to advance projects sooner than otherwise would have been possible, while leveraging state and federal funding. An estimated 50%, or $50 million, of the first $100 million is earmarked for state highways including the widening of SR 400 from McFarland Parkway to SR 369. Additional and/or detailed information is available at www.forsythco.com. How Forsyth County’s Millage Rates Compare The millage rates levied by Forsyth County government continue to be among the lowest in metro Atlanta, all while providing top-notch public safety services, quality programs and award-winning parks and recreational amenities. Here’s how Forsyth County government’s millage rates for Maintenance and Operations, Fire and Bond compare to millage rates of neighboring counties and cities: Did Your 2015 Tax Bill Increase? Some Forsyth County citizens may have seen an increase on their tax bill. The three primary factors that may have resulted in an increase are: If the assessed value for your property went up (for which an appeal process is available) The millage rate increase approved by the Board of Education The increase in the Bond levy due to the voter’s approval of the Transportation Bond which will fund a variety of transportation projects; an estimated 50%, or $50 million, of the first $100 million is earmarked for state highways including the widening of SR 400 from McFarland Parkway to SR 369 Homestead Exemptions Did you know that those who live in Forsyth County and have homestead exemption on their residence receive what is called floating homestead? This means that if their property assessment goes up, the amount of their homestead exemption automatically increases in order to offset the reassessment; this in turn offsets any increase in the county Maintenance and Operations and Fire taxes due to the reassessment. This adjustment does not apply to school or Bond property taxes. County Maintains Exceptional Bond Rating Did you know that Forsyth County has the highest bond rating possible from both Standard & Poor’s (AAA) and Moody’s Investors Service (Aaa)? The exceptional rating enables the county to bond important transportation, water and sewer, and public safety infrastructure improvements at very low interest rates, allowing the county to more economically and effectively plan and build for the future.