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September 3--  Property owners in Vidalia will see an increase in their school property taxes this year.

According to the school system, the school board has tentatively adopted a millage rate which will increase property taxes by 2.79 percent.

Vidalia School Superintendent Dr. Garrett Wilcox says the increase in the local tax digest will help the school system raise about $315,000 in revenue.

"Our board doesn't have the ability to go above 15 mils.  I'm not saying we should, but the reevaluation was almost a blessing in disguise," he said.

Dr. Wilcox says the increase will allow the school system to restore some furlough days which had been levied on system employees and provide more days of instruction for students.

"Our goal is to get back to 180 days for our students.  It's not a great deal of increased income, but with what we've dealt with the past several years in terms of cuts, we can get  our students back on an even playing field with the number of days they are attending school," he said.

Because the school board is planning a .407 mil increase on Vidalia property taxpayers, it is required by state law to hold three public hearings before adopting the tax rate.

Those hearing are scheduled for Thursday, September 12 at six p.m. and Monday, September 23 and Tuesday, September 24 at noon at the Board of Education office on Adams Street.

According to the school board, the new tax rate will cost homeowners with a home valued at $100,000 to pay an additional $16.28 in taxes this year.

The biggest hit will be on owners of commercial property in Vidalia who have seen their property values double or triple in some cases.