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Slight decrease in taxes for Pike citizens

Board of commissioners and board of education members both voted to slightly decrease taxes for Pike County citizens by not raising millage rates. COUNTY TO REDUCE MILLAGE RATE, TAXES Pike County commissioners discussed the county’s plan to slightly decrease the millage rate at their Aug. 25 meeting, noting the millage rate will be set at the Wednesday, Sept. 2 meeting which starts at 9 a.m. ’We are currently advertising the county’s five-year history for millage rate,’ said county manager John Hanson. ‘We have seen a decline in real property values over the past couple of years but there has been a slight uptick in real estate recently. The economy is going to have a lot to do with that in the future. We do anticipate a slight decrease in millage rate and overall taxes.’ SCHOOL BOARD AVOIDS RAISING MILLAGE RATE Members of the Pike County board of education set the millage rate at 15.457 during a special called meeting Thursday, Aug. 27. The millage needed to generate the Fiscal Year 2016s $6,614,072 budget would be 15.62 but the rollback millage is 15.457, a total shortfall of around $70,270. ’This will have us collecting funds that will be under our budget but we are willing to accept that,’ said school financial director Ken Carter. ‘Right now we are most affected by the Title Ad Valorem Tax with vehicles coming off the tax rolls. This decreases the tax digest as a whole which pressures the millage rate upward in order to gain necessary operating revenues.’ It was noted that the approved millage rate was the rollback millage rate, the highest rate acceptable without the board increasing the millage and holding millage increase hearings. It was also noted the tax digest has decreased for the seventh consecutive year and the rate approved will underfund the 2016 budget by around .2 mill. Board members also approved a .812 millage to fund the final bond payment to pay off the high school construction costs funded via a 1996 bond referendum. The 30-year loan was acquired to build the Pike County High School. The final payment of $500,000 will be made in February 2016. Superintendent Dr. Michael Duncan noted that a school bus broke down on the second day of school in the middle of Zebulon and that information about a proposed bond referendum in November – which would purchase 10 new buses for the system – will be available at Friday night’s football game. ’We are off to a great start in the new school year and traffic is starting to wane as usual as people get used to their new routines,’ he said.

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