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Fulton Co. Property Taxes Going Up?

Fulton County residents are invited to attend a public hearing on July 11 on a proposed increase in millage rates, used to set property taxes.

Fulton County is considering raising property taxes.

Have something to say about it? Fulton County residents are invited to a public hearing on the 2012 General Fund Millage Rate on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 10 a.m.

The board will consider a revenue neutral millage rate of 10.791 mills. This reflects a 0.51 mill adjustment compared to the 2011 rate of 10.281 mills in order to offset the average decline in property values.

If approved, the 0.51 mill adjustment would net approximately $17 million in revenue for the General Fund.

The public hearing will take place in Assembly Hall of the Fulton County Government Center, 141 Pryor Street SW, Atlanta. The meeting will be video-conferenced, allowing residents to participate from the South Fulton Government Service Center, 5600 Stonewall Tell Road, College Park, and the North Fulton Government Service Center, 7741 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs.

At its July 11 meeting, the board will also consider the millage rates for the South Fulton Tax District and the County’s Bond Fund.

Fulton County has not increased its millage rate since 1991, and has maintained its current rate since 2007.

The national real estate crisis has been a major economic driver affecting Fulton County’s budget due to the fact that approximately 80 percent of General Fund revenue comes from property taxes.

Georgia law effectively doubled the homestead exemption for Fulton County residents from 2008 to 2011, making it the most generous homestead exemption in the metro region. Combined with declining property values, this has resulted in significant reductions in the Fulton County portion of property tax bills for many homeowners over the past 5 years, as well as a revenue loss of approximately $48 million since 2009. Since 2008, Fulton County’s real and personal property tax digest has declined by 15.3 percent.

A variety of community indicators have increased reliance on County services. The unemployment rate in Fulton County increased to 10.5 percent in 2011, from 4.9 percent in 2007. Poverty rates increased from 14.2 percent in 2007 to 17.7 percent in 2010. Fulton County, as the center of the Metro Atlanta area, also has been impacted by foreclosure rates, which have remained among the highest in the nation.

Fulton County has responded to economic pressures through a variety of measures. County leadership actively decreased expenditures by 13 percent from 2007 to 2011. A hiring freeze has been in place since 2008, and the county has decreased its headcount of full-time employees by 23 percent from 2006 to 2012. Other efficiency steps have included consolidation of departments, streamlining operations, increases in grant funding, refinancing and other measures.

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