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The county's independent auditor is Cherry Bekaert LLP. The complete auditor's opinion letter is included in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).
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The county's Tax ID number is 58-6000807.
Columbia County's fiscal year runs July 1 through June 30.
The millage rate is established annually by the Board of Education and the Board of Commissioners and is applied to the assessed values of properties as of January 1 of that year. The millage rate for fire services applies to special districts within the unincorporated areas only. The Board of Education accounts for approximately 67% of the total millage rate in the incorporated areas and 62% of the total millage rate in the unincorporated areas.
The current millage rate is 25.6967 in the unincorporated areas, 27.937 in the incorporated areas and is broken down as follows:
The adopted General Fund budget's fiscal year runs July 1 to June 30. To view a copy of the most recent budget report along with past reports, please visit Report Central.
Columbia County continues to maintain strong bond ratings with the major credit rating services. In December 2016, the Government prepared comprehensive presentations for Fitch IBCA, Standard and Poor's, and Moody's Investors Service rating agencies in an effort to upgrade the current uninsured bond ratings applied to the Government in anticipation of issuing approximately $60 million in general obligation property tax bonds. The Government received the following ratings for its general obligation debt:
The Government currently has the following ratings for the water and sewerage debt:
These high ratings are a primary factor in keeping interest costs low on the Government's outstanding debt. The County will continue to follow prudent fiscal policies and practices in order to maintain its strong credit rating.
This reserve shall be appropriated annually as part of the budget by fund and shall be used for paying unexpected or unanticipated expenditures of an operational nature during the fiscal year. This reserve should approximate one to two % of the fund budget.
The incorporated areas of the county are made up of the two cities, Grovetown and Harlem. Each city is governed by a Mayor and a City Council elected by their citizens. The remainder of the county is unincorporated and is governed by the Board of Commissioners consisting of a county-wide elected Chairman and four Commissioners elected from each of the four districts of the County. Grovetown and Harlem are located within district 4.
An operating reserve shall be established in the General Fund and each Enterprise Fund to provide for operating contingencies in either revenues or expenditures, and to provide adequate funds to operate without short-term borrowing. This reserve, which should provide funds for 75 to 100 days of operations, may be used as required by authority of the Board. To determine the current funding level, divide the current operating reserve by the result obtained from dividing the annual fund budget by 365 days.