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County to decide on tax hike
by Mary Cosgrove
mcosgrove@neighbornewspapers.com
July 10, 2012 01:22 PM | 523 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Today the Fulton County Board of Commissioners will decide whether to increase its millage rate from 10.2 mills to 10.7 mills.

The city has been facing revenue declines since 2008 for an overall 15.3. decrease in the tax digest.

In 2008, the tax digest netted $48 million and has been dropping ever since, collecting $47.7 million in 2009, $44.3 million in 2010, $42.6 million in 2011 and $40.6 million in 2012.

Meanwhile, state law has doubled homestead exemption, to where a $150,000 house in 2008 would have had $15,000 in homestead exemption and yielded $462.65 in property tax for the county.

Now, a house of the same value with $30,000 in homestead exemption only nets $308.43 for the county with the current millage rate.

County Manager Zachery Williams estimated that in 2011, a house with a fair market value of $200,000 would yield $514.05 for the county under the existing millage rate. With falling property values, the house would be devalued to $192,000 and even with an increased millage rate of the proposed 10.791 mills would yield $9.05 less for $505.

Foreclosures, decreased property value, increased population, high unemployment rates have been cited as needs for an increase in property taxes.

This would be the first millage rate increase since 1991. The rate has stayed the same since 2007, and Fulton County Public Affairs Manager Jessica Corbitt said the county has been consistently easing off the millage rate for some time.

“Our rate is considerably lower than it was 10, 15 years ago,” she said.
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