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McDonough proposes tax hike, seeks input
by Christine Fonville
July 09, 2014 10:09 AM | 1848 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At a workshop meeting last week, McDonough city council members continued discussions about increasing the millage rate of 4.387 mills to 4.997 mills in order to meet the fiscal 2015 budget, which they set at $13 million in June.

City Administrator Frederick Gardiner presented the council and public with a slide show, explaining an overview of the procedures needed to establish a new millage rate.

“What we found out when we got the preliminary digest back on June 20 [it] showed property values have gone from right around $610 million to $716 million,” he said. “When we worked on our budget, $674 million is what we estimated, so according to the tax digest we got close to the actual number and [were] only off about $50,000.”

Gardiner said to fulfill the increase in public safety expenditures outlined in the fiscal 2015 budget, including four additional firefighters and one additional police officer, about $3.4 million will be required.

“With those requirements, the city needs to apply a millage rate of about 4.99, which is about a 12 percent increase, in order to meet those funds,” Gardiner said.

The current millage rate will net about $2.6 million, about $1 million under what will be required.

For a property in McDonough appraised at $150,000, the proposed 4.99 millage rate would increase annual property taxes from about $263 to $299, a difference of about $36 and a monthly increased payment of about $3.

The median house value in the city in 2012 was about $125,000, according to the latest statistics on www.city-data.com.

The presentation also included a tax distribution breakdown by government entity with the city claiming about 10 percent of every dollar, the county claiming about 27 percent and the board of education claiming about 57 percent.

A 20-year millage rate history showed the proposed millage of 4.99 is closer to the rate in 1995-96, which was 5.00.

Councilwoman Gail Notti said she thought the similarities in the rates from 20 years prior and the increase in population growth in the city were “dramatic.”

“In 1995, the population was about 4,000 people and we were providing services that we basically provide now with a population between 23,000 to 25,000,” she said. “I understand the importance of keeping the millage rate as low as possible at any given point, but when the millage rate was lowered during those years where it was drastically lowered, we had tremendous booms going on. We’ve had very little increase overall and tremendous growth.”

Three called public meetings for the purpose of discussing the increase in the millage rate will be held July 16 at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. and July 23 at 7 p.m. at city hall, 136 Keys Ferry St.

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