For Immediate Release
Date: August 8, 2013
Savannah City Council voted on Thursday to lower the property tax rate for Savannah property owners. By a unanimous vote during its regular meeting, Council voted to roll back the rate from 12.5 mills to 12.48 mills, marking the lowest millage rate in Savannah since 1987.
“It speaks to our staff and the City Manager and all the folks in Finance that we can offer a slight reduction to our residents when other governments all around us are raising taxes,” said Alderman Tony Thomas.
Since 1996, the City of Savannah has reduced its property tax rate by 29% -- from 17.46 mills to 12.48 mills. The reduction has been made possible through the creation of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, which has funded more than $300 million worth of capital improvements, half of which has been spent on drainage improvements. An estimated 40% of the 1% sales tax, known as SPLOST, is paid by visitors to Savannah.
“This affords us the opportunity to develop critical infrastructure, and build police and fire stations without having to rely on property taxpayers to foot the bill,” said Mayor Edna Jackson. “This is helping us create a better community.”
The millage rate, combined with the assessed value of your property, is used to determine an individual’s property tax bill. Thursday’s reduction equals the “rollback rate,” the amount required to offset the increase in the City of Savannah’s property tax digest due to re-assessments over the past year. 2013 marks the first significant year-over-year growth in the tax digest since 2008, another sign of economic recovery.
“This points to our financial stewardship,” said Alderman Van Johnson. “When times were difficult, and we had to increase our rate, we did. But when possible, we reduce our millage rate, and obviously this was an opportunity to give back.”