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West Point votes to reduce millage rates

WEST POINT – The West Point city council met briefly on Monday night to discuss two pieces of new business. In short order, the city council voted to adopt a Freeport Exemption resolution as well as the proposed millage rate resolution, both of which passed unanimously.

As previously discussed in the Aug. 28 work session meeting, it was recently discovered that the Freeport Exemption resolution initially passed by the city in 1978 is no longer on record with the Georgia Department of Revenue, and needed to be sent to the state level again to be on file with the state.

“The Georgia Department of Revenue apparently lost our resolution that is required to be sent in,” city manager Ed Moon said after the Monday city council meeting. “We just had the city attorney redraft that resolution to provide them with what they needed.”

Under Georgia state law, the Freeport Exemption can provide either 20, 40, 60, 80 or 100 percent tax exemptions on a wide array of goods and services classified as “tangible personal property” under Georgia state law. This includes, but is not limited to, inventory of goods in the process of being manufactured or produced, inventory of finished goods manufactured within this State held by the manufacturer or producer for a period not to exceed 12 months and inventory of finished goods on January 1 that are stored in a warehouse, dock, or wharf which are destined for shipment outside this state.

“This is an exemption on state tax, not city tax,” Moon clarified. “Almost one hundred percent of the counties have a Freeport Exemption and a vast majority of the cities do as well. It gives businesses an exemption on materials that they are in the process of producing.”

The city council also voted unanimously to adopt a millage rate of 9.275 for the year 2018, which is a slight reduction from the previous rate of 9.303. Per Moon, the state required the rollback based on a number of factors, including tax digest numbers and property reassessments.

“The state formula told us where we needed to be,” Moon said. “The council could have held the rate the same, or raised it, but they have to go through public hearings to do that. We also don’t recommend that when the reduction is that small.”

The council will next hold a work session on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 5:30 p.m.