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OUR VIEW: Understanding your tax bill

Thanks to Thursday's vote by the board of education, your tax bill will be higher this year. And with the settlement of the lawsuit between the county and cities in Gwinnett regarding service delivery, the county portion of your bill will also have a different look.

It's never a fun trip back from the mailbox on the day you receive your tax bill, especially in years when the bill increases. But you do deserve to be able to fully understand what you're paying for. In that regard, the county is doing its best to explain with public forums scheduled for the next three Tuesdays before the final vote on the millage rate July 16.

Legally, the county government is required to post the current year's estimated tax digest and levy along with the same for the last five years. Those ads ran in Saturday's Daily Post, but this year the county also posted another ad that helps explain the new service districts.

To further help clear up confusion about the service districts and how they affect your tax bill, the county will host informational meetings over the next three weeks. At those meetings the service districts will be explained and public comment welcomed. All three meetings will be held at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center's auditorium and will be held the next three Tuesdays:

-- June 25, 6 p.m.

-- July 2, 3:30 p.m.

-- July 9, 6:30 p.m.

"The main thing is it's one more chance for folks to see what their tax bill looks like before it arrives in their mailbox," Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said.

The service districts were created to avoid duplication of services by cities and the county. For instance, a resident of a city with its own police department shouldn't also have to pay for county police. However, the result of creating the service districts is that your bill will differ depending on where you live. Those changes have necessitated the need for the explanations that the public forums will provide.

While you may not be happy with the tax bill you receive this year, the county does deserve a nod for doing its best to explain where your money is going.