The invocation preceding the Bartow County Board of Education's first public hearing on millage rate increases lasted longer than the hearing itself.
The board voted unanimously at its July meeting to lower the 2018 millage rate from 18.99 mills to 18.85 mills, but the proposed decrease is actually a 3.6 percent increase over the rollback rate of 18.202 mills, and that could raise property taxes this year for property owners whose fair market value increased.
But before anything can be enacted, the state requires the school district to advertise the change as a tax increase since the state measures change against the rollback rate rather than the actual prior-year millage rate.
The state also requires the school district to hold three public hearings to give members of the community an opportunity to express their opinions on the increase.
Promptly at noon Thursday, Superintendent Philip Page, members of the school board, some school board staff members, two gentlemen from the press and one curious onlooker took their seats in the hearing room at the central office at 65 Gilreath Road.
Chairman John Howard opened the hearing, but no one expressed an opinion, so the hearing was closed and the meeting adjourned.
The noon hearing was followed by another at 6 p.m. A third hearing will be held Monday, Aug. 20, at 5:30 p.m. The last hearing will be followed by the adoption of the millage rate at the board's regular monthly meeting.