$87M Alpharetta budget remains flat

Second reading of budget approved; millage rate at 5.750

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. — With property values going up, members of the Alpharetta Council are concerned about why the tax digest is decreasing.

At the City Council meeting on June 16, Councilman Mike Kennedy questioned the inconsistency.

“To have three-fourths of a billion dollars [spent on] new construction, but our digest is flat for seven to eight years, something doesn’t seem to be square,” said Kennedy.

David Fitzgibbon, Fulton County chief appraiser, said during a presentation that it is hard to keep up with the changing county property values.

“We have seen changes in the market,” said Fitzgibbon. “We do not have the resources to go out and evaluate all those properties.”

One of the major discrepancies in Alpharetta is that the city has seen $800 million in new construction since 2007, but the tax digest from 2007-2013 has been flat.

The meeting revisited the topic of the fiscal year 2014 budget ordinance for a second reading. The $86.9 million budget commences on July 1 and runs through June 30, 2015.

The vote for the budget ordinance was unanimously approved.

On second reading, council unanimously voted to keep the millage rate at 5.750.

The council also discussed the City Center outparcel request for proposals. Councilman Chris Owens said the teams picked out for this are eager to start working.

“We got the right amount of interest,” said Owens. “We are encouraging creativity and giving lots of latitude.”

A selection team will approve the designs, and then final approval will come from the council. The teams will have two months to put together recommendation packages.

ALSO AT THE MEETING:

- City Center update and workshop: City Administrator Bob Regus gave an update. Trees are being planted and drywall is being installed. There were questions from the council about additional change orders potentially adding to the cost of the project.

- Haynes Bridge Road medical office building: The previous buffer of 50 feet was removed. The council and residents discussed the possibility of a residentially zoned property and parking variance in order to construct a medical office. This was unanimously approved.

- Millard – Wills Drive: The council considered a variance to the side yard setback in order to construct a two-car, two-story garage addition. The vote was unanimously approved.

- North Point Commons – Salon Lofts: The council considered a master plan amendment in order to allow a nail salon within Salon Lofts at 970 North Point Drive. This was unanimously approved.

- North Point Commons Master Plan – Rooms to Go: Discussion was held about a master plan amendment to permit retail on a parcel designated for restaurant use. A parking variance, a request to be rezoned and a change to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan to fix a technical error were also discussed. The vote was unanimously approved.

- Unified Development Code: The council considered amendments to the Unified Development Code in order to add R-4D detached residential zoning designation (for-sale housing). This was approved in a 4-3 vote, with Cross, Gilvin and Aiken voting no.

- Animal Control Services: This motion was to continue the intergovernmental agreement with Fulton County for three years. This was unanimously approved.

- Davis Drive Extension/Bike – Greenway Trail: This motion was to add to the current Greenway trail. It was unanimously approved.

- Webb Bridge Park drainage improvements: This would rebuild parts of the parking lot due to rain and drainage issues. It was unanimously approved.

- Equestrian Center stall cleaning: The council discussed a bid to a company that removes horse waste. It was unanimously approved.

RN 06-19-14