Did the City just raise my property taxes?
On August 6, 2015, Savannah City Council adopted the annual
property tax rate – called the millage rate – of 12.48 mills, the third
straight year it has been at that rate. Over the past two decades, Savannah
City Council has followed a policy of gradually reducing the millage rate while
keeping the City in a position of fiscal strength.
This policy has dropped the millage rate from a high of
17.46 mills in 1995 to 12.48 mills in 2015. That’s a 29% reduction, and is the
lowest millage rate in Savannah since 1987. In fact, the City of Savannah is
the only major taxing authority in Chatham County that has a lower millage rate
today than before the recession.
The millage rate is the only control City Council has over
your property taxes. The other part of the equation is the value of your home,
which is set by the Chatham County Board of Assessors, which is not part of
That said, this much is true: Even though the millage rate
has remained the same, your property taxes could have gone up through
re-assessments. Thankfully, Savannah homeowners have the Stephens-Day Homestead
Exemption available to them. This means that if you own the home you live in,
the taxable value of that property can only increase by the rate of inflation,
which is currently below 1%.
City Manager Stephanie Cutter explained this whole business
in detail in a July 2015 Letter to the Editor.
Here is Savannah’s property tax millage rate over the past