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Millage rate wont budge for Springfield residents
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Springfield property owners will continue to have the same millage rate as they’ve had for seven years.

City council members agreed Tuesday to keep the millage at 4.3 for the coming year, the same it’s been since 2006. But the same millage also has brought in less in property tax receipts, City Manager Brett Bennett said, because of declining property values.

The city expects to bring in $12,000 less in property tax for the coming year but Bennett said the city has found an unexpected revenue stream.

“The new ad valorem tax on vehicles has generated revenue we had not anticipated,” he said.

The city may take in as much as $30,000 more than it expected from the new car ad valorem tax for this year. But Bennett doesn’t expect that figure to approach that level again.

Bennett also said he expects to hire a director for the Mars Theatre soon. There were are approximately 20 applicants, and Bennett interviewed six candidates. The last finalist was interviewed Tuesday.

He also said the theatre construction project should be finished by the first of October.

“The project is moving forward,” Bennett told council members.

A final decision on the conduit and what goes behind the walls before sheetrock is put up is being made.

“The equipment and seats will come later,” Bennett said.

Council members also questioned if the next phase of the streetscape for downtown Springfield would interfere with two events scheduled for mid-October, the fall festival and the fair parade. Bennett said there will be a pre-construction meeting, possibly today, to discuss when the contractor can start and how long it will take for the work. He also said he may see if the work can get to a point where the city could have its events safely.

“We can’t’ have an open construction site during fall festival,” he said.

Yet how quickly the work can get started and finished also worried council members.

“We’re right at 60 days before the fall festival,” Mayor Barton Alderman said.

The second phase of the streetscape, which is locally-funded, will run from First Street to Madison Street along the east side of Laurel Street. The contract was awarded last month to Swindell Construction out of Glennville. Keck and Wood engineers are designing the streetscape, and council members approved hiring Statesboro engineer Wesley Parker as the project administrator.

“Keck and Wood can’t come down here as often as Wesley can,” Bennett said. “It’s always a good idea to have a different engineer inspecting what another engineer has done.”