COVINGTON, Ga. – Newton County commissioners have approved a rollback property tax rate for 2023, marking the third year in a row that it will be lower than last year.
The Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday, July 19, to approve an installment of 9,454 mills that will help fund an $82.9 million General Fund budget in 2023, approximately 6.8% more spending than 2022 corresponds.
The property tax rate was calculated based on a $4.2 billion tax statement, representing a 22% increase in tax bills from $3.47 billion last year. The statement is the estimated total value of all taxable personal and real estate in Newton County.
A tax rate of 9.454 million is 15% lower than last year’s tax rate of 11.145 million. It is the full rollback property tax rate that local governments are required by state law to calculate in order to generate the same revenue as last year using their estimates.
Treasury Director Brittany White said the General Fund included an increase in estimated revenue from both the Vehicle Value Added Tax (TAVT) and the 1% Local Options Sales Tax (LOST) to offset the revenue decline from the approval of a lower property tax rate.
As a further action, the Board of Directors, at its regular meeting on Tuesday, July 19, approved the Newton County Sheriff’s Office’s motion to transfer unused funds from the 2022 sheriff’s budget to the capital improvements portion of the county budget by 15 2023 Buy Chevrolet Tahoes for a total price of $664,815 – or $44,321 each.
Sheriff Ezell Brown defended using the money to purchase rather than putting it in reserves – and said he must replace worn-out vehicles immediately because of the safety factor involved.
Also Tuesday, the board:
• Approved a $589,275 amendment to a construction management design-build contract with Sunbelt Construction for the renovation and expansion of the Newton County Probate Court. The approval brings the total cost of the agreement to $625,775. Funding source is the budget for capital improvements.
• Approved construction services contract from Qualite Sports Lighting LLC for the retrofit of Turner Lake Park Softball Complex sports lighting with LED lamps. Cost is $379,784 with funding from the Capital Improvements Budget.
• Approved a professional services contract with The Archer Co. to conduct an employee assessment and compensation study for a maximum of $41,000. Funding source is the General Fund.
• Approval of a juvenile court motion for approval of a fiscal year 2023 contract for an attorney for the court’s Indigent Defense Program. The cost is $41,250, with funding included in the juvenile court’s budget.
• Approved a fiscal year 2023 contract for an Indigent Defense Program attorney for the Juvenile Court’s Family Treatment Court program. The cost is $5,500, with funding included in the juvenile court’s budget.
• Genesis Elevator Inc. approved Information Services’ application for approval of a wireless modem contract addendum for the replacement of an emergency phone modem for the Public Defender building’s elevator door.
• Approved installation of restrooms, pavilion and lighting at Nelson Heights Community Center. Funding comes from the proceeds of SPLOST 2017.
• Approved a contract to develop the citizen relationship management app “See, Click, Fix” to improve communication between the county government and residents. The cost is $24,950 with funding from the General Fund.
• Approved a change in zoning requirements to remove a maximum density requirement to allow construction on outside lots of the Kroger Mall at 3600 Salem Road.
• Approved the revision of the Future Land Use Map from AF (Agriculture/Forestry) to A (Agriculture) on 42 acres for David and Tiffany Lynch on McDonald Road to allow for future residential construction.
• Voted to allow the Newton County Sheriff’s Office to apply for the FY22 RSAT grant to support the RSAT program at the Newton County Detention Center. Funding source is the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
• Voted to allow the Newton County Sheriff’s Office to apply for the FY22 Judicial Assistance Grant totaling $26,750 to support day-to-day operations. allocation amount is .
• Voted to allow the Newton County Sheriff’s Office to apply for $50,000 from the COVID-19 Detention Center Mitigation Project. The funds reimburse organizations for costs related to COVID-19 containment activities.