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County to advertise possible tax hike
by Noreen Lewis Cochran
ncochran@neighbornewspapers.com
June 21, 2012 03:27 PM | 2400 views | 7 7 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It took two tries for the Fulton County Board of Commissioners at its recess meeting Wednesday at the county government center in downtown Atlanta to vote on an advertisement for a proposed five-year millage rate increase from 10.281 to 10.791 mills plus a public hearing and vote July 11.

The vote was 5-2 for the ad, scheduled to run today in a daily Atlanta newspaper.

District 2 Commissioner Robb Pitts and District 3 Commissioner Liz Hausmann were opposed.

Its first go-round on the agenda was greeted with silence when commission chair John Eaves asked for a motion, without which a vote could not be taken.

Commissioners, however, weighed in heavily prior to his request.

“We’ve always run a conservative government,” said District 4 Commissioner Tom Lowe, “but we find ourselves in the toughest times I’ve seen in 37 years.”

Hausmann said a presentation by Deputy CFO Sharon Whitmore and County Manager Zachary Williams preceding the discussion gave a bleak outlook for constituents.

“I just don’t think people can pay any more. I think they’re at their limit. We have a lot of work ahead of us to find that money,” Hausmann said about a $70 million deficit in the $605 million budget.

District 7 Commissioner William “Bill” Edwards said 8,000 of his constituents pay no taxes on homes valued at $75,000 or less.

“They understand they’re going to have to pay a little more to protect their services,” he said. “People aren’t crazy. They understand.”

District 6 Commissioner Joan Garner said her district is similar.

“People say, ‘I pay $14 in taxes. Don’t you think you should ask me for more money?’” she said.

Following the discussion, the commission went into a 30-minute closed session for real estate and litigation matters, after which it put the ad item back on the agenda.

“If there is no action today, the [tax] bills will go out at a later time,” Williams said.

The presentation indicated the half-mill increase will actually decrease household expenses since the average residential parcel declined 16 percent in fair market value from 2011 to 2012.

The tax on a $200,000 house in 2011 at 10.281 mills was $514.05, while the same house valued at $192,000 in 2012 will be taxed $505 at 10.791 mills, a decrease of more than $9.

Unincorporated south Fulton millage may increase from 8.969 to 10.469, an increase of 1.5 mills.

Comments
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Barbara1234
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June 28, 2012
Where did you get your figures on how much taxes Fulton County residents pay? I want to know WHO pays only $514.05 in taxes on a $200,000. house?! Prior to signing up for Homestead Exemption, I paid $4,407.21 on a house valued at around $300,000. After signing up for the exemption, the tax was $2,737.15.

And, why should someone in a $75,000. NOT PAY taxes like the people who live in more expensive homes?

To me, it seems like a reality check needs to be done!

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July 01, 2012
Barbara,

The county millage rate is just one portion of your overall property tax bill. The school system and each city also have a millage rate that they set. All of this goes into the final property tax bill.
Tina R.
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June 28, 2012
If Fulton County and others keep raising their prices I won't have a home to pay taxes on. Where will the money come from when that happens to me and others alike? Every time I get a bill lowered another increases. This is ridiculous! I agree, bring on Milton County!
John Otto
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June 28, 2012
SPLOST is somewhat temporary. Property tax is not. Where were all the meetings when the houses were worth double what they are now? Why didn't they put some money aside when they were soaking us then?

SPEAKING OF SOAKING, My Fulton county water is $220 a month - the water nazi's will not sell me a separate meter.
E Lawrence
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June 27, 2012
Concurring with George S, my Fulton County property taxes have just increased 47% over last year. The Case-Shiller Home Price Index for Atlanta says property values have decreased 17.9% from spring 11 to spring 12. (yes, I have appealed.) The commissioners are nuts.

Do not ever give government more of someone else's money - they will always manage to spend it. Government, like us, must learn to live within their means.
P Roberts
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June 27, 2012
I agree, I voted for the SPLOST hoping that Fulton County would not ask for a property tax increase.

I lived in south Fulton County...On July 31, 2012, I am expected to vote for or against another tax..the T-SPLOST.

The city where I reside are considering raising our city tax.

County officials clearly see that property taxes will not generate the revenue that it has in the past. The easy way out is to get what they want from the property owners instead of finding out what can be cut from the budget.
George S.
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June 21, 2012
Article mentions "the average retail parcel declined 16% in fair market value from 2011 to 2012". That's odd, since my Fulton County assessed value has not decreazed a penny since I bought it twelve years ago, and my taxes increase each year! The commissioners are nuts! Bring on Milton County!
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