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Property Taxes

property taxDid 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 City Government.

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 30 years: 

Year

Millage

Year

Millage

Year

Millage

1986

9.00

1996

17.46

2006

12.70

1987

11.30

1997

17.46

2007

12.50

1988

13.30

1998

16.93

2008

12.50

1989

13.30

1999

16.50

2009

12.50

1990

13.30

2000

14.80

2010

13.00

1991

14.30

2001

13.70

2011

12.50

1992

14.30

2002

13.30

2012

12.50

1993

15.90

2003

13.30

2013

12.48

1994

17.46

2004

13.10

2014

12.48

1995

17.46

2005

12.90

2015

12.48