FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners approved its spending plan for 2021 at its Nov. 19 meeting as economic uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The general fund, which pays salaries and expenses for day-to-day operation, is balanced at $151.8 million, a 1.4 increase over the current budget. Chief Financial Officer David Greun previously noted the county expects a 5 percent drop in sales tax revenue next year due to a lagging economy, but he previously told the board the county should “be in good shape” for sales tax income.
The reduction in sales tax collections could be offset by an expected increase in revenues from personal property and ad valorem taxes. The county expects a 4.7 increase in real and personal property tax revenue to $63.8 million, and a near 2 percent rise in ad valorem income.
Expected expenditures are slightly up for the county’s library, parks and recreation, and Sheriff’s Office, while spending will be below 2020 levels for the county’s animal shelter and public transportation.
Additional general fund spending includes the creation of 21 new county employment positions for the Sheriff’s Office, parks and recreation, county court system and finance department. Eight new positions are also outlined for the county’s fire, jail, engineering and E-911 departments. A cost of living adjustment will raise county employee pay by 2 percent.
The county’s Fire Fund is balanced at $29.6 million. Revenues and spending for next year are expected to increase by 4.3 percent over 2020 figures.
Earlier this year, the county voted to lower the tax rate on personal property, the millage rate, for by one-half percent. The Forsyth County School Board voted to roll over its 2020 tax rate into next year. The Fire Fund rate also remained unchanged.
The modest decrease in the millage rate could save homeowners a few dollars in property taxes, but the savings may be wiped out if the value of their home increased.
The county set its rate at 7.896 mills. The school district tax rate is 17.3 mills.
One mill brings in $1 in taxes for every $1,000 of a property’s taxable value. In Georgia, a property’s taxable value equals 40 percent of its appraised — or real — value. A home with a real value of $100,000, for example, would have a taxable value of $40,000.