Commissioners lower millage rate

Mon, 06/26/2006 - 8:23am
By: Ben Nelms

In a surprise to some in the unincorporated areas of South Fulton County, commissioners Wednesday announced the addition of a previously unaccounted for $34 million in property tax revenues. That increase led to an adjustment that reduced an anticipated three mill tax hike for unincorporated property owners into a one mill increase. The move has positive implications for next year’s vote to form the cities of South Fulton and Chattahoochee Hills.

The exponential growth in unincorporated South Fulton sent $20 million more than expected to the general fund for countywide services and $14 million to the Special Services District coffers that are specific to unincorporated South Fulton. The unexpected addition of those funds meant that the three mill increase that would have taken the property tax rate to 7.731 mills could be held to a one mill hike, putting the rate at 5.731 mills.

Data amassed by Georgia State University’s Dr. Robert Eger on the required revenue for the proposed cities of South Fulton and Chattahoochee Hills was based on figures provided by Fulton County. With updated figures now available, the original 7.731 mill tax rate, identical to the one announced earlier this year by Fulton County, puts the fiscal dynamics of the proposed cities in a better position than they had originally thought.

“This is great news,” said South Fulton Concerned Citizens Coordinator Rex Renfrow. “We find ourselves in the enviable position of developing a business plan where we can talk to citizens about staying at 5.731 mills or deciding what they would like, deciding what tax rate they want.”

Also at the June 21 commission meeting, a 4-3 party line vote paved the way to make six county-owned parks in Sandy Springs available to all bidders. At question is whether a similar move will follow with county-owned park facilities if voters in the proposed cities of South Fulton, Chattahoochee Hills, Johns Creek and Milton form their own cities. Voters in the South Fulton and Chattahoochee Hills areas go the the polls in mid-2007 while the decision to form Milton and Johns Creek will be made next month.

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