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NEWBERRY ‒ The City of Newberry conducted a public hearing to set a tentative rate of taxation on real and personal property and to determine the annual ad valorem taxes for the City for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Newberry had conducted five budget workshops to discuss the budgets. Although time was allowed for public comment, no comments were offered by the public during this hearing.

The tentative millage rate of 5.9999 was announced by Director of Finance and Administration Dallas Lee along with a roll back rate of 5.8930. Lee said the percentage change of millage from the roll back rate is a 1.81 percent increase.

“The Commission approved a preliminary millage rate of 6.4501 on July 24. The tentative millage rate proposed is 5.9999, which is 1.81 percent more than the roll-back rate of 5.8930,” said Lee.

The City Commission cannot adopt a final millage rate higher than the tentative rate adopted. A millage rate higher than the rolled back rate will result in a Notice of Tax Increase, explained Lee.

City Manager Mike New said there was a $15,000 surplus available. He suggested that Commissioners could choose to save the surplus funds, put the money toward capital improvements or put the funds toward increased merit funds for employees, which would likely increase budgeted merit increases from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent.

Following discussion, it was unanimously decided to direct the funds toward merit increases and allow the city manager to determine how those funds would be fairly expended.

The tentative millage rate was unanimously approved. A final hearing is scheduled for Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.

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