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Healthy tax digest in Fairburn spells slight revenue decrease
by Mary Cosgrove
mcosgrove@neighbornewspapers.com
July 02, 2012 02:13 PM | 617 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Due to a diversified tax digest, the city of Fairburn isn’t facing large revenue drops as it prepares for its 2013 fiscal year.

Whereas many cities and counties are facing tens of millions in revenue declines, Fairburn is currently projected to drop from a taxable digest of $531 million to $512 million, for an overall 3.5 percent reduction, City Manager Tom Barber said.

“What happened was our residential part went down some, but the commercial and industrial part is pretty stable,” he said of the digest. “The growth that we get right now is all on the commercial side. We’re not building any houses right now at all.”

Barber said the city’s tax digest is approximately 25 percent residential, which he said is not normal. He said compared to other larger city’s, such as Chattahoochee Hills or Milton, he would estimate their digest is 50 percent commercial.

The city has a millage rate of 8.1 mils, which was raised from 7.5 mils, after Fairburn saw a tax digest drop of 7.8 percent the year prior and 4.7 perfect the year before.

The millage rate, if the city’s taxable digest for 2013 is indeed $512 million would produce $4.15 million in actual revenue for the city.

“If we don’t change the [millage] rate, roughly $150,000 we have to get from some place else or cut,” Barber said.

The city is currently working with rough numbers, as its fiscal year follows the calendar year, so it is at the end of its third quarter.

Also, appeals are still coming in from property assessments continuously, which could change the bottom line for the tax digest.

While Barber said the decrease in the city’s revenue is slight, it still has impact.

“A small decrease is a big deal to us because we’re small,” he said. “But proportionately, we’re being hurt less because we have a really healthy digest.”

Despite decline in revenue, the city has yet to have layoffs or furlough days for employees.

He said last year’s budget was $10.7 million for the general fund, which was revised to reflect a $1.2 million increase. The increase was only because of a road-widening project the city is participating in with other agencies.

“We’re acting as the lead, so the revenue goes through us and the expenses go through us, so it’s just a wash, but we added that to the budget,” Barber said.
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