Roswell passes controversial budget

Tax rate at issue

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ROSWELL, Ga. – Roswell passed its fiscal year 2014 budget May 29 at the weekly City Council meeting. Included in the budget was a contentious tax plan that some say is a tax increase. Supporters of the budget say the rate remains steady.

At issue is the city’s moving of tax money previously used to pay off bond money into the general fund. Bonds are paid off, allowing more flexibility in that money, however, while the bond tax rate may decrease, the general fund tax rate will increase by the same amount. Despite the fact the overall tax rate remains the same, the city must call this a tax hike.

“We have a difference of opinion,” said Councilmember Kent Igleheart, about whether to consider the tax rate as staying the same.

He maintains the move is a tax increase and it is unwarranted, due to the city passing a $14 million bond referendum last November.

The councilmembers in support of the move said it is necessary to maintain services.

“People are comfortable with the services we have and don’t want that to decrease,” said Councilmember Nancy Diamond.

Parks and recreation as well as cultural affairs are all touted as contributing to the city’s high quality of life.

Councilmember Rich Dippolito said Roswell still has the lowest tax rate in all of North Fulton.

Both Igleheart and Councilmember Betty Price voted against the budget and new millage rate.

ALSO AT THE MEETING:

ROSWELL, Ga. – Roswell residents who use city water will see a rate increase in their bills.

City Council was informed that a $1 increase per month in residents’ bills is a necessity to pay for the expansion of the city’s water plant and infrastructure maintenance. The increase is the same for residential and commercial customers.

The rise in rates is expected to bring in $70,000 annually to the city’s water fund. Council voted unanimously to approve the new rate.

ROSWELL, Ga. – The November election will cost Roswell residents $252,000. However, for the first time, City Hall may be able to be an advanced voting location, making it easier for residents to cast their ballots.