Bebe Heiskell

Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell announced Thursday she will roll back property taxes resulting in lower tax bills for residents in October.

“I am rolling taxes back almost a mill,” Heiskell announced as she finished evaluating the county’s upcoming fiscal year which begins in October.

This will no doubt be welcome news to many residents who have raised concerns over a recent property reevaluation required by the state of Georgia to bring Walker County’s property values in line with the rest of the state.

According to Walker County Chief Appraiser Terry Gilreath, the county was placed under a consent order by the state which stipulated the reevaluation occur or the county could face steep fines.

“This evaluation was an effort to equalize our ratio with state law requirements,” Gilreath said.

Under the states requirements, reevaluation notices went out to residents with an estimated tax liability owed which did not reflect what the current rate of millage would be for the upcoming year.

· Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell, during her current administration (2012-2016) has increased the county government’s collection of property taxes by 55 percent, from $7,343,772 for 2012 to $11,380,968 (projected) for 2016. Most of that increase occurred during a single year, when she raised collections from $7,205,900 to $11,106,157, a 54 percent increase.

· In the past year, the county’s tax digest has increased $21,169,179, from $1,271,405,940 for 2015 to $1,292,575,119 for 2016, about 1.67 percent.

· Commissioner Heiskell plans to reduce the property tax (millage) rate from 8.592 mills to 7.838 mills, a decrease of 0.754 mill (8.78 percent decrease). Using this new tax rate will generate $11,380,968 in revenue for county government, which is $648,238 less than 2015’s property tax revenue of $12,029,207.

· Commissioner Heiskell will hold a public hearing on her proposed fiscal 2017 budget on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 11 a.m. at the Commissioner’s Office, 101 S. Duke St., LaFayette. The proposed budget will be available at and at the Commissioner’s Office.

· Commissioner Heiskell will hold a public hearing to adopt the budget on Wednesday, Sept. 21. At that time she will also officially set the property tax (millage) rate. The hearing will be held at the Commissioner’s Office.

The Walker County school system recently released a statement saying it would roll back taxes on residents for the upcoming year as well.

“While the county budget can always use increased revenue, the increases on property owners as reflected by the reevaluation notices is unrealistic,” Heiskell said.

Property taxes notices will go out to residents in October and will be due in December.

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