Columbia County taxes won't increase as much as planned

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News 12 First at Five, July 2, 2007

EVANS, GA--If you live in Columbia County, your property taxes might be going up. But the increase might not be as much as you thought, and that's because of the school board's new budget.

When they balanced it, they realized they didn't need to raise taxes as much as they originally thought. That means fewer taxes for you, and money left over to hopefully improve your child's education.

Superintendent Charles Nagle says more students come here to learn every year: "We grew between 6 and 700 students last year, and we're anticipating about that many this year."

He says they're planning to build several new schools to keep up with all the new students, to keep class sizes down, and to keep personal attention up.

"We're growing about a school a year right now," he said.

That's why they're adding 69 new full time teachers and staff, and one part-time. The new budget also covers health benefits and an increase in teachers' salaries.

"This was an unusual year. We had a lot of growth in this area," Nagle said.

He says new homes and businesses in the area brought more money into the system. That's why they don't need as much as they originally thought. The plan was a 5.1 percent tax increase; however, now it's only a 4.57 percent increase.

"The bottom line is we're giving back $323,000," Nagle said.

That means hundreds of thousands of dollars back to the community with plenty left over to give these kids a good education.

If you live in Harlem or Grovetown, your tax increases are different. It's an 8.72 % increase for the city of Grovetown, and a 6.34 % increase for the city of Harlem.

If you have any questions or concerns, there will be a series of public meetings.

Columbia County:
7/10--7:30 a.m., Columbia County Board of Education
7/10--6:00 p.m., Columbia County Board of Education
7/17--10:30 a.m., Savannah Rapids Pavilion

7/9--6:30 p.m., Harlem City Hall
7/16--9:00 a.m., Harlem City Hall
7/16, 6:30 p.m., Harlem City Hall

7/9--6:00 p.m., Grovetown City Hall
7/16--10:00 a.m., Grovetown City Hall
7/16--4:00 p.M., Grovetown City Hall

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