A sparsely attended public meeting on June 16 yielded no changes to the proposed 2015 budget. The meeting was called to a close by Mayor Jere Wood in less than two minutes.
Wood first proposed the new budget on May 12. Monday’s hearing was the second of three required public meetings before the millage rate is made official.
“There’s not a lot of changes going on in terms of the millage rate,” said Roswell Budget Manager Ryan Luckett. “The council made several changes this past budget meeting on the 9th…so there may be a few minor changes here and there, but nothing substantial I know of yet.”
For the last six years, Roswell’s property tax rate has been fixed at 5.455 mills. The proposed 2015 millage rate is identical to last year. Maintenance and operation costs are tabbed at 4.464 mills, while debt services costs tack on an extra 0.991 mills.
The city received a preliminary tax digest from Fulton County on May 27. While real property value increased 1.6 percent from last year, the increase is offset by declines in both personal property and motor vehicle tax revenue. An official digest from the Fulton County Tax Commissioner is expected to arrive next month.
While city property tax revenue grew at an average annual rate of 6.3 percent from 2004 until 2010, revenue has decreased by a 2.2 percent annual average over the last four years. At $24.2 million, the property tax revenue projected in the proposed 2015 budget is the lowest estimate since 2006.
Under the budget, Luckett said the city will still be able to invest in more capital projects than in years past due to an uptick in sales tax revenue.
“We’re expected to take in about $21.6 million, so we’ve seen consistent growth over this past year from the prior year,” he said. “Our primary increased revenue is through our sales tax, which is a good indication of the improving economy here in Roswell.”
Luckett said the proposed budget will also allow the city to provide merit-based employee raises for the first time in several years.
A second reading of the 2015 budget and a final millage rate hearing will take place Tuesday. The public meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Roswell City Hall.