MOULTRIE, Ga. -- Moultrie property owners can expect a tax rate decrease as city council finalizes its budget for the next fiscal year. 

Residents have suffered enough from the pandemic, so they don’t need anything more on top of that, Councilwoman Lisa Clarke Hill said.

City council performed its first and second reading on the ordinance regarding the 2020 millage at Tuesday night’s meeting. The rate will be set to 8.14 mills in the coming year, assuming it passes third and final reading at the next city council meeting.

As the current rate is 9.75, this will be a rollback of 1.61 mills, a 16 1/2 percent decrease for city taxpayers. City Finance Director Gary McDaniel explained why this occurred.

“[This] is due to the major reassessment of the property values,” he said. “Every bit of reassessed value, we pulled that out.”

The rollback reflects the new reassessed value.

Many other local government groups have also announced plans to reduce their millage rates due to the reassessment. The Colquitt County Board of Commissioners is expected to approve millage rates for the county government, school board, parks and recreation authority and development authority at its Sept. 22 meeting.

City council approved all other items on the consent agenda Tuesday night, including a first and second reading of an ordinance to amend the false alarm and alarm system ordinance for the city.

This was done to rectify a dated ordinance where fire departments could be answering four or five false alarms per week and the caller would face only a $20 charge. It was getting expensive, Dillard said.

According to City Lawyer Mickey Waller, there are levels people will face upon calling in a false alarm.

“You get two warnings per false alarm,” Waller said. “In the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and subsequents are a set amount. The exception is a new alarm system. We recognize there are some issues with it.”

There’s only a 30-day leeway with that, however. There have been many repeat offenders, so this is a way to make sure companies and people are keeping their alarms up to date.

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