County submits 'rollback' millage


President of JRA Architects, Jim Roberson, addresses commissioners with his plans for the drafting the design for the new Washington County Courthouse.

Carol Kent
Published: Friday, July 25, 2014 at 06:11 PM.

CHIPLEY - The Washington County Board of County Commissioners tentatively approved a proposed property tax "rollback" rate of 9.252 when they met in regular session Thursday.

The proposed rate increase is in proportion to the dip in the county’s 2014 property tax digest and doesn't mean property taxes will rise. When property values decrease, so does the amount of tax collected. A millage rate to bring the same amount of property tax revenue as the year before is the “rollback” rate.

Commissioners approved the rate so it could be submitted to Property Appraiser Gil Carter to begin the process of issuing Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices to property owners.

"From here, we can lower the rate, but we can't raise it," explained Commission Chair Alan Bush.

With the 3.23 percent drop in assessed values, keeping last year's millage rate of 8.9195 would mean a budget shortfall of more than $250,000.

Commissioners also accepted the Courthouse Committee's recommendation of Tallahassee Based JRA Architects. President Jim Roberson represented the firm, which also has a Panama City office. Roberson, who founded the firm in 1975, stated he was excited to announced he'd be working on the design himself. Roberson has also worked on other area projects, including the construction of the new Chipley middle and high school campuses and the Bay County Administration Building, a120,000 square foot facility home to Bay County government offices.

"One of our first steps (after commissioners officially decided on a site) is to go to Tallahassee and check with the Secretary of State's office to see if we can tear the current courthouse down (if that's the chosen site)," said Roberson.

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