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Columbia tax collections higher than in 2017

At the end of June the owners of property inside the town of Columbia had paid 96.68% of the $308,219 tax the board of aldermen levied for 2018.

When the budget was adopted a year ago the collection rate — the percentage of the levy they anticipated would be paid during the fiscal year that ended June 30 — was kept at 94% as in past years.

The collection rate in 2018 compared favorably with the 95.47% collected by the same date in 2017 and the 92.93% collected by June 30, 2016.

With 96.68% paid on the 2018 levy, only $10,241 was carried over into the delinquent tax account.

The 2018 town budget was affected dramatically by the countywide property revaluation that preceded it. The taxable value of the town fell 24%, from $56.60 million to $42.96 million.

To offset the loss in revenue the lower value would generate, the aldermen raised the tax rate by 24%, from 45.6 cents per $100 valuation to 60.1 cents.

The net result was that property that fell in value more than 24% in the revaluation was assessed fewer dollars in tax, while property that increased in value, or stayed the same as in 2017, or fell less than 24%, was assessed more money in town tax.

The county commissioners decide when property is revalued, but state law requires them to revalue at least once every eight years.