Fulton budget assumes another tax hike | www.myajc.com

14
Dec

Fulton budget assumes another tax hike | www.myajc.com

Thousands of Fulton County residents could see their property tax bills increase next year under a proposed budget that the Board of Commissioners will consider Wednesday.

Georgia’s largest county would keep its countywide tax rate at 11.781 mills under the proposed 2015 budget. But with property values expected to rise 2 percent, homeowners from Milton to Chattahoochee Hills may see bigger tax bills. This year, residents saw a 17 percent property tax hike.

Library hours, cut this year to save money, would be restored under the proposed budget, and the county will increase spending on other programs and give employees a 4 percent raise.

The board is expected to make a slew of changes before final approval of a budget in January. Fulton officials say this year’s tax increase has improved the county’s financial position. But they say keeping the tax rate the same — instead of rolling it back to offset rising property values — is necessary to support popular services.

“We made the right decision, in terms of the millage rate increase,” said County Commission Chairman John Eaves. “The monies are coming in now and we’re better positioned to provide the services our citizens want.”

Thousands of Fulton County residents could see their property tax bills increase next year under a proposed budget that the Board of Commissioners will consider Wednesday.

Georgia’s largest county would keep its countywide tax rate at 11.781 mills under the proposed 2015 budget. But with property values expected to rise 2 percent, homeowners from Milton to Chattahoochee Hills may see bigger tax bills. This year, residents saw a 17 percent property tax hike.

Library hours, cut this year to save money, would be restored under the proposed budget, and the county will increase spending on other programs and give employees a 4 percent raise.

The board is expected to make a slew of changes before final approval of a budget in January. Fulton officials say this year’s tax increase has improved the county’s financial position. But they say keeping the tax rate the same — instead of rolling it back to offset rising property valuesis necessary to support popular services.

“We made the right decision, in terms of the millage rate increase,” said County Commission Chairman John Eaves. “The monies are coming in now and we’re better positioned to provide the services our citizens want.”

Critics say Fulton should focus more on cutting costs than raising and spending money. Former state Rep. Ed Lindsey, one of several lawmakers who have sued to overturn this year’s tax hike, said more than 90 percent of county residents live in cities, but county government continues to grow.

“It has been said many times that that the closest thing on Earth to eternal life is government,” Lindsey said. “We must change course.”

via Fulton budget assumes another tax hike | www.myajc.com.

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