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.