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September 26--  Property owners in Vidalia, Lyons and Toombs County can expect to be paying the same property tax rates this year.

The Vidalia city council approved the city's rate at a called meeting Tuesday.

"We're recommending the council approve the net millage rate of 4.5 mils for Toombs County residents in Vidalia and 3.549 mils for Montgomery County residents living in Vidalia," according to Vidalia City Manager Bill Torrance.

Torrance says the city is working on a thin margin to maintain the status quo on property taxes.

"It's very, very tight.  There's only about a $1,500 contingency right now and we're still working on the budget to try to bring that up a little bit.  Right now it's practically a zero balance budget in the general fund," he said.

Lyons is also maintaining the same tax rate at 2.89 mils.

The Toombs County milage rate was approved on a three to one vote earlier this month to keep the tax rate at 9.625 mils.  However, unlike Vidalia, Toombs County is in better financial condition after raising the tax rate one mil three years ago.  Commissioner Skeeter Toole tried to get the commission to reduce taxes.

"I wanted to actually decrease it.  With the money we have in the bank, $3.5 million in the general account and  $2 million in CD's, I felt like we owe it to the taxpayers to roll back the mil  that we increased in '09, but nobody wanted to go along with it but me, so it didn't pass," Commissioner Toole said. 

City residents could see an increase in property taxes next year if a judge rules to increase Toombs County's share of local option sales tax collections.

"If our percentage goes down, that results in an increase in taxes in the city.  The only way to avoid that is to cut back on services," Torrance points out.

A hearing is scheduled October 30th before Judge H. Gibbs Flanders of the Dublin Judicial Circuit to determine how the sales tax revenue will be distributed  in Toombs County for the next ten years starting in January.