Understanding the county’s new Special Service Districts

Bar graph showing unincorporated millage rates for Henry County (staff chart)
Unincorporated Millage Rate (staff chart)

Property tax bills have arrived in residents’ mailboxes and people may have questions about the county’s new special service districts (SSD). In short, the overall millage rate for unincorporated residents adds up to the same 12.733 mills in place since 2016.

The special service districts were created as a result of ongoing service delivery strategy (SDS) negotiations between the county and four cities. In years’ past, city residents received a rollback for municipal services (ie McDonough provides police and fire protection, Hampton and Locust Grove police). Now, all properties are levied the county tax and the special service districts are charged where those county services apply.

Another frequently asked question I see is why everyone, including those households without county water, pay two mills to the water authority. The two mills are spent solely to pay off previous bonds or secure additional bonds to finance capital improvement projects. The millage rate was implemented in 1968.

The water authority accounts for 40% of the fire department’s ISO rating affecting homeowners insurance rates countywide. In this year’s rating — when HCFD improved from an ISO rating of 4 to 2 — the water authority achieved a score of 36.86 out of their 40 possible points.

To see the total millage rate, including that portion levied by the school system, visit our article from August 2020.

Note: only those tax rates set by the Henry County Board of Commissioners are represented on the chart above. Rates for property within a municipality will be less than 12.733 mills based on the special service districts.