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Montgomery County Proposes Slight Millage Rate Increase

The Montgomery County Commission has tentatively adopted a .5 mill hike in the county’s millage rate that will require an increase in property taxes by 3.34%. Three public hearings were scheduled to allow citizens to comment on the proposal. The Commission began the process in an August 4 called session, and at its last regular session on August 10, made a correction to the minutes from the called meeting that provided for three required public hearings. The Commission will formally adopt the proposed millage rate in its final hearing. The first and second hearings were held August 20 and the last public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, August 27, at 10 a.m. at the Adult Literacy Center, 251 South Richardson continued from page

Street, Mount Vernon. The proposed millage rate increase of 0.500 mills will result in a millage rate of 15.48%. Without this tentative tax increase the millage rate will be no more than 14.958 mills. Millage is a term that represents the tax rate levied on real estate or other property. A mill is one thousandth of a dollar, or one tenth of one cent. The millage rate is the number of dollars of tax assessed for each $1,000 of property value. In this case, the proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $100,000 is approximately $20 and the proposed tax increase for nonhomesteaded property with a fair market value of $50,000 is approximately $10.

County Manager Brandon Braddy reported to commissioners that general fund total revenue collections through the end of the fiscal year in July totaled $3,421,920.88 with $2,266, 072.19 expended for a net revenue over expenses of $1,155,848.69 or 52% against the annual budget of $4,364, 153. Braddy told commissioners that $261,110 has been made available to the county through the Coronavirus Relief Fund through the CARES Act. The federal allocation requires validation that the funds were used to assist the county in COVID-19 related expenses. The county can submit validation for janitorial services and sanitation items used in response to the virus and could recoup some of the public safety personnel salaries. The board approved Braddy’s recommendations.

The Commission received bids on replacing the HVAC unit in the county’s Adult Literacy building. The current equipment is a 5-ton unit that is approximately 18 years old. The board accepted a bid from Rivers Air Conditioning and Heating for a Goodman 14 Seer unit at $4,700.

Debbie Evans, Vice President of Operations for the Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, informed the Commission about current Chamber activities, including two ribbon cuttings for new businesses and the Leadership Toombs-Montgomery program orientation on August 20 – 21.

Recreation Department Director Steve McLeod informed the Commission that the recreation board has agreed to attempt to schedule a recreational season this year, but will adhere to COVID-19 protocol and follow the lead of the Montgomery County School System. McLeod asked the board to approve Team Snap a software application that would help with registration and communication for parents, teams and game officials. The price per year is $1,600, which is within the current recreational budget. The request was approved.

EMS Director Drew James reported the department had responded to 700 calls in July in Montgomery and Toombs counties, with 102 of the calls coming from the Montgomery County area. James said two factors were involved in the increase in calls: the increase in the number of COVID cases and high temperatures resulting heat-related medical complaints. He reported that the delivery of the county’s new ambulance is anticipated for October. The department will be supporting the Friday night high school football games.

EMA Director Donnie Daniels reported his office had responded to 43 calls in the past month including all accidents, alarms and fires, and noted that the increase in COVID-19 cases can be attributed in part to an outbreak of the virus at the Montgomery State Prison.

Daniels also reported the National Hurricane Center is predicting its most active hurricane season in 22 years. The center is expecting 19 to 25 named storms this season with 7 to 11 becoming hurricanes and with 3 becoming major hurricanes. “The time to prepare is now,” he said, adding, even though Montgomery County does not receive the main impact from hurricanes, high winds and heavy rains and flooding are issues. He has procured pallets of water and has already distributed them to schools and the fire department.

Roads Department Director Milton Fountain presented two bids for a utility trailer to store bulk material used for patching roads. The savings in using bulk over packaged material is substantial. The county buys around 10 to 12 pallets of patching material a year and the savings would be $346 per pallet. The Commission voted to purchase a 6 x 12 one-year old model trailer for $4,500 from Coopers Towing.

In other business, the board appointed Mona Bell to the Montgomery County Library Board and agreed to go forward with the process to abandon George Hilton Road.

The commissioners heard from county resident Richard Robins during the session of the meeting devoted to public comments. Robins, who lives on Fire Tower Road, thanked the commissioners for patching the “giant potholes” on the road; however, he said the patching was being undone by the tractor-trailers that travel the road. He asked if the road could be posted to prohibit big truck traffic since the end of the road that had been repaired using crush and run was causing problems. Robins, who rides a motorcycle, maintains that the road is dangerous because of the trucks depositing crush and run there. Commissioners informed Robins that the portion of Fire Tower Road to which he was referring is on the county’s schedule to be patched.

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