Notice of Property Tax Increase

The Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah have tentatively adopted a 2020 millage rate which will require an increase in property taxes by .92 percent.

All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearings on this tax increase to be held at the City Hall Council Chambers, located on the corner of Bay and Bull Streets, Savannah, GA on the following dates: 

  • August 13, 2020, 10:00 am
  • August 13, 2020 at 2:00 pm

The public may offer comment in one of two ways:

  1. Anyone with interest in speaking on this agenda item may submit evidence including written comments to ClerkofCouncil@savannahga.gov or by calling 912-651-6441. Written comments become public record and are shared with the Mayor and Aldermen prior to the Council meeting. Prior to the City Council meeting, persons may also register to speak on the agenda item by registering through the City’s website at http://savannahga.gov/457/Agendas-Minutes
  2. Members of the public may come to City Hall Council Chambers to join the meeting via a Zoom connection.

This tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 12.856 mills, an increase of .117 mills.  Without this tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than 12.739 mills.  The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $100,000 is approximately $4.68 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $500,000 is approximately $23.40.

More About the Notice of Property Tax Increase

Georgia state law requires the City of Savannah to run the advertisement above using the specific language you see presented, but the official language isn’t very easy to understand. This FAQ goes into greater detail to explain what’s happening with the City’s 2020 property tax rate, also known as the millage rate. We hope you find it helpful in understanding the millage rate setting process.

What is a millage rate?

Your City of Savannah property tax bill is determined by two major factors: 1) The assessed value (40% of appraised value) of your property, as set by the Chatham County Board of Assessors, which is a separate government from the City; and 2) The millage rate, as set by the Savannah City Council. At the end of last year, the previous City Council approved a 2020 Budget balanced on a tentative millage rate of 12.856 mills. That means for every $1,000 in your property’s assessed value, the City will tax you $12.856. Now that the County’s annual tax digest has been calculated (it was released in June), Savannah City Council must decide whether to keep the 12.856 tentative millage rate included in the 2020 budget, or change it to something else. That’s why we’re holding these hearings now.

Is Savannah considering raising the 2020 property tax rate?

No. Savannah City Council currently has two options to consider: keep the rate the same as 2019 (12.856 mills) or lower it to the rollback rate (12.739 mills). Because keeping the 2019 rate would produce more revenue in 2020 due to growth in the property tax digest, the City is required to advertise the consideration of keeping the 2019 rate as a tax increase. 

What is the rollback rate?

When the total digest of taxable property is prepared, Georgia law requires that a rollback millage rate must be calculated that will produce the same total revenue on the current year’s digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced had no reassessments occurred.   

Why does this notice say the City Council has tentatively adopted an increase?

The language used in the advertisement is legally required, and must be published so that City Council can discuss maintaining the 2019 rate of 12.856 mills. However, City Council has not yet adopted any millage rate.  Discussion on the millage rate options will continue during Public Hearings on August 13th, and the 2020 millage rate will be adopted during the 2:00 pm City Council meeting.

What would be the impact if the rollback rate is adopted?

The City of Savannah would experience a budgetary shortfall of approximately $600,000 in 2020 if the rollback rate is adopted. This shortfall is in addition to the $13 million loss in revenue the City is currently managing due to the local impacts of COVID-19. The City is working on a few options to close this large gap in our budget, including defunding capital projects, placing holds on vacant City positions, and reducing City services. 

Our goal will always be to minimize the impact these financial challenges have on the public we serve, but losing over $13 million in budgeted funds will require significant cuts.