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      What factors go into deciding on a millage rate?

      In recent weeks, many officials have poured through their county's budgets making sure they can find a way to pass it without a millage increase. In order to do that, commissioners say it's a simple formula, but a tough act.

      "One of the factors is the expectation of service delivery, what is it that the citizens of that community expect to be delivered and the other is the digest, that is how much revenue that we generate in taxes, said Lee County Commissioner Greg Frich.

      When the input matches the output, officials call that a balanced budget and are able to approve it without drastic measures, but it doesn't always work out that way.

      "If you find a shortfall of revenue that is coming in, you will either have to cut service or raise the millage rate," said Albany City Commissioner Jon Howard.

      Commissioners are then tasked with figuring out what departments and line items are necessary for the well-being of their area, like public safety, in order to find where the cuts can be made without including a tax increase.

      Though not all counties saw a rise this year, that doesn't mean they're going to be okay next year. Commissioners say there are things citizens can do , like speaking up a public hearing, to help them understand which direction to head in.

      "That helps the service providers and elected officials to communicate what's being delivered to the community and it also helps the community to identify things that they may not be satisfied with," said Frich.

      Frich says these type of changes can often be done through ordinances that will offer a better service without an unforeseen budget cost, keeping the county more financially sound and the citizens satisfied.

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