Hogansville City Council voted Monday to officially set its tax millage rate at 7.95 mills, the same rate it has had for the last nine years.
The city was required to hold three public hearings on the rate, however, because an increase in some property tax assessments will net the city about $35,000 in increased property tax revenues.
The city also set new utility rates Monday night, based on a new power cost adjustment.
The residential base charge for utilities will go up from $8 to $12 and the rate also will increase 1 cent per kilowatt hour to 13 cents. Commercial rates already have gone up:small commercial rates are up to 14.6 cents per kWh, while large commercial rates actually dropped 13.6 cents per kWh. Extra large utility customers - Carters is one - have seen a rate increase of.081 cents per kWh. City Manager James Woods said the increases are because he and auditors discovered in April the city was charging too low a rate to keep up with the financial requirements of its bond covenants.
“These new rates cover our expenses and get us a little revenue,” Woods said.
The new rates take effect in August.
Council will consider later this month changing a policy that has given a break to those residents who have trouble paying their utility bills. Woods said a policy has been in place since before he arrived last year that allows residents to leave a $50 balance on their utility account. The problem is, the $50 can be rolled over from month to month and about 500 residents have taken advantage of the policy, resulting in at least $25,000 a month in revenue not being collected.
“This amounts to a finance-free loan,” Woods said.
The city manager said Hogansville already has programs and policies in place to help those who need help with utilities.
Mayor Jimmy Jackson asked that the policy be discussed at a work session later this month.
That work session will be 5:30 p.m. July 30.