Fulton must re-advertise tax hike

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Fulton County will launch another series of budget hearings after it was discovered the proposed millage rate was not correctly posted on the county’s website.

The county proposes a $626 million budget with a 1.57 mill increase in the general fund, but the County Commission canceled its final budget hearing and the budget vote July 18 to reschedule the hearings, presumably with the correct numbers posted on its website.

District 3 Commissioner Liz Hausmann said she does not believe there will be discussions as suggested some weeks earlier by Commission Chairman John Eaves.

“We have never met outside chambers for any real discussion about the budget,” said Hausmann.

She said she would like for the commissioners to have had such discussions.

“I’ve enquired. I hope we do,” she said. “I would like to do so immediately after the last budget meeting [preceding the Aug. 6 commission meeting]. That would be up to the chairman to decide.”

To date, only 2.5 percent of residential property assessments have been appealed. Hausmann said she was surprised, and that was an improvement over past years.

“But we could have a rush at the last minute…we could have a flood at the last minute on this issue,” she said.

Hausmann said according to the Tax Commissioners Office, Fulton County north of Atlanta has 42 percent of the population and pays 45 percent of the taxes, yet it only receives 11 percent back in revenue spending.

“People tell me they are tired [of this inequity]. And I can’t defend it,” Hausmann said.

While the general fund is not all of the revenue, many North Fulton residents are getting a double whammy because for the first time, many North Fulton properties are receiving higher tax appraisals.

“And all of this comes when libraries are closed on Fridays – one of the most visible services we receive from Fulton County,” she said.

Fulton County’s current general fund millage rate is 10.211 mills. The proposed 2014 rate would be the first increase to Fulton County’s general fund millage rate since 1991.

The two meetings met with low attendance, with only a total of 14 constituents providing feedback to the board.

The additional dates being proposed are:

• Wednesday, July 30, at 10 a.m. and at 6 p.m.

• Wednesday, Aug. 6 at 10 a.m.

All public hearings will take place at the Fulton County Government Center, Assembly Hall, 141 Pryor St., SW, Atlanta, 30303. The public may also participate via videoconferencing from the South Fulton Service Center, 5600 Stonewall Tell Road, College Park, 30349, and the North Fulton Service Center, 7741 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs, 30350.

JC-7-23