VALDOSTA — The county set its millage at the rollback rate of 10.938, a reduction of 0.126 mills from last year.

The rollback essentially leaves Lowndes County property taxes unchanged. 

According to county documents, the county will receive 8.688 mills, the industrial authority will receive 1.00 mill and the parks and recreation authority will receive 1.25 mills. 

Paige Dukes, county clerk and public information officer, said a county resident's property taxes will go down if their property was not evaluated higher than last year. If someone's property value increased, their taxes will go up, but by a smaller amount due to the lower millage rate, she said.

In years where property values have increased due to reassessment, local governments must either adopt the state-recommended rollback rate or publicly advertise a proposed tax increase. 

The rollback does not represent a tax reduction. 

And since there is no property tax increase, county officials said the Lowndes County Commission was not required to hold multiple public hearings before the vote at a Tuesday county meeting.

Also at the meeting, commissioners appointed Jason Shaw as member-at-large for the South Regional Joint Development Authority. Shaw sits on the Georgia Public Service Commission and is a former state house representative for Lowndes and neighboring counties.

The county made purchases for two lift stations. The first was pump number two at the Francis Lake Lift Station, which was broken and needed to be replaced. 

Repairs were estimated at $37,884.90, and the cost of a new pump is $49,103.25. Due to the repair estimate being more than 75 percent of the cost of a new pump, county staff recommended buying a new pump for $49,103.25. The board approved the purchase.

The second pump was at the Peterson Road lift station, which was rendered inoperable after being hit by lightning in August, documents stated.

The cost to repair the pump is $29,689.20, and the cost of a new pump is $70,577, county officials said. County staff recommended the pump be repaired for $29,689.20, and the board approved it. 

A portion of Ivandale Circle was approved to be abandoned by the county after the owners of the unopened right of way made a request, county documents stated.

An agreement between Lowndes County and the City of Lake Park for the transfer of drainage easement was approved by the board.

Lake Park requested to acquire and assume the drainage easement from the county, which owned the easement located entirely within the city.

The board also approved a beer, wine and liquor license for Madison Package Store, 2603 Madison Highway. Documents stated this is a new business that met all ordinance and guidelines for approval. 

The county approved updating its Title VI plan for county transit required by the Federal Transit Administration and the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Updates include bringing the plan into Georgia compliance to continue to receive both federal and state transportation funding, demographic statistics and maps, and updated thresholds, documents stated.

Thomas Lynn is a government and education reporter for The Valdosta Daily Times. He can be reached at (229)244-3400 ext. 1256

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