“Many residents of our low- and moderate-income neighborhoods are seeing their property values increase, not because of the appraisals of their own individual properties, but because of higher-priced homes being built in their neighborhoods, which drives up their property values,” said District 6 Commissioner Emma Darnell.

This item was passed by the commission 4-0 at its meeting today at Fulton’s Assembly Hall in downtown Atlanta. The board’s four Democrats – Darnell, Natalie Hall (District 4), Marvin Arrington Jr. (District 5) and Robb Pitts (District 7/chair) – voted for it while its three Republicans – Liz Hausmann (District 1), Bob Ellis (District 2) and Lee Morris (District 3) – abstained.

The Georgia General Assembly’s 2019 session starts Monday. The item was added to a legislative package that already includes the county’s support of quality medical care for all individuals, regardless of income or insured status, and will urge the state to support legislation to improve access to high-quality, person-centered health services.

Darnell said the new item was important for homeowners across the county.

“Under existing law, if a homeowner’s neighborhood is trending toward expensive homes, that type (of) development will impact the property values of the entire neighborhood (where) those expensive homes are built in,” she said. “We believe the time has come for us to not have to face another year knowing that the property taxes on seniors living on fixed incomes or low- to moderate-income neighborhoods are being raised because of our decision, as a commission, about the use of land.”

However, Morris said he wasn’t against the proposal, but felt it focused on low- to moderate-income neighborhoods when, in actuality, neighborhoods, regardless of income levels, are being affected.

“I am making the point that this kind of thing happens everywhere, and I used the example of what happens to a neighborhood of, say, $500,000 homes when someone comes into that neighborhood and builds $1 million mansion,” he said. “The property values in that neighborhood of $500,000 homes would also jump.”

The main agenda item at the meeting, a vote on Fulton’s $1.09 billion budget, was postponed until the commission’s next meeting, scheduled Jan. 23. According to Darryl Carver, a county spokesman, the vote was delayed to give commissioners time to review the budget.

In other action, the board voted 7-0 to elect Morris as its vice chair for 2019, replacing Ellis.

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