Fulton commission rejects tax hike | www.myajc.com


Fulton commission rejects tax hike | www.myajc.com

Backing away from an all-out war with the General Assembly, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners Wednesday rejected a proposed property tax increase that state lawmakers had forbidden.

Most Fulton commissioners believe they’re within their rights to approve a tax hike despite a new state law that prohibits them from raising the property tax rate for the next two years. But on Wednesday they said they didn’t think the proposed hike was the right thing to do for county taxpayers.

Commissioners voted 6-1 to approve a revenue-neutral general fund property tax rate. By the same margin they decided not to create a separate new tax levy for Grady Hospital.

“If we believe that people in this county can afford a tax increase this year – I’m talking about working families now, I’m talking about people on fixed income now – if we believe that, we’re not paying attention,” said Commissioner Emma Darnell.

The move may defuse – for now – an ongoing battle between Fulton County Democrats and the Republicans who control the General Assembly.

Claiming that Fulton County government is dysfunctional and spends too much, the General Assembly approved a series of measures this spring affecting county operations. Among other things, the proposals will redraw commission districts to create a new north Fulton commission seat and make it easier to fire county employees.

Lawmakers also approved a bill prohibiting commissioners from raising property tax rates until 2015 and requiring a supermajority of commissioners to raise taxes after that.

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