Property taxes are the primary funding source for local government Property taxes are the primary funding source for county government The average county millage rate including schools in Georgia is 30 mills County government is responsible for providing for the health, safety and welfare of its citizens The economic downturn is reducing funds available to provide county services Public safety in your community is funded primarily by property taxes County government spends millions each year to maintain roads and bridges Counties, cities and boards of education set their budgets independently and have no authority over one another The demand for county services such as health departments increases during tough economic times Declining revenues are forcing local governments to reduce or eliminate many programs and services County government investment of tax dollars in infrastructure like water, sewer and roads leads to economic development A mill equals $1 per $1,000 of net assessed property value Property is assessed at 40% of its appraised value Many services that your county provides are mandated by the State of Georgia

Think about the community in which you live. When you left home this morning, you probably drove on several streets or local roads to get to your destination. You may have seen children at the neighborhood school bus stop or playing soccer at your local park. If you are in an accident or have an emergency, you are conditioned to call 9-1-1 and expect to receive assistance from police officers, deputies, firefighters or emergency response medical personnel.

People are attracted to your community for a variety of reasons, such as job opportunities and the local school system to the availability of cultural and recreational offerings. Many of the aspects that make your community a desirable place to work, live and play are a direct result of the investments made by your local government and board of education with your property tax dollars.

Property taxes are the primary source of revenue to fund county government servicesthat provide for the health, safety and welfare of your community. Many of these services are mandated by the State of Georgia, meaning local governments are required to provide them. Other services, such as libraries and parks and recreation facilities, are optional and are developed based on community preferences and priorities.

The primary source of funding for county government and the board of education is property taxes. Some cities also levy property taxes. Local option sales taxes, which are voted on at the local level by local voters, also provide additional funding. Without revenues from property taxes, county governments and schools would be unable to fulfill their primary responsibilities. As a taxpayer, it is important for you to understand how your property taxes are determined and where your tax dollars go.

A community information project by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia