Wording of millage announcement trips up DeKalb County residents

DeKalb County School District Chairman Melvin Johnson was fed up.

During public hearings, the board is only supposed to listen to concerns as residents speak publicly.

At Monday’s millage rate hearing at the DeKalb County School District headquarters, people filed to a lectern to voice their opposition to a notice seeking to increase the millage.

“The obvious question is ‘why?’” asked John Evans, president of the DeKalb County NAACP.

“We’re not supposed to answer questions during the hearings,” Johnson said.

Resident Charles Logan pondered the same question.

Those wondering about the millage rate were directed to the district’s chief financial officer, Michael Bell, who was in the audience during the hearing.

Already, though, Johnson felt the need to speak up.

“There is NO millage increase,” he said. “There is NO millage increase. There is NO millage increase.”

Bell said that the hearings are necessary because the tax digest grew in DeKalb County, which means more money is up for collection. Reassessments, not the proposed millage rate, may mean the amount paid this year could be more or less than last year, he said.