Fulton County residents may soon see lower property taxes.
The county board of commissioners approved a millage rate of 10.45 mills, lower than the recommended 10.55 and 2015’s rate of 10.5.
“The way to think about this is today, with the projections in expenses that we have, we would, if we raised the millage rate to 10.55, we’d add $25.7 million to the fund balance,” County Manager Dick Anderson said about the county’s rainy-day fund.
“If we stay at 10.5, we’d add $23.3 million to the fund balance. If we go to 10.45, then we’d add something like $20 million to the fund balance.”
He said the reduced cushion will affect fiscal 2017, not 2016.
Anderson spoke at the board’s Aug. 17 meeting, during which the commissioners debated different rates.
Vice Chair Liz Hausmann suggested reducing the rate to 10.211, which she said would add about $10 million to the fund balance.
That proposal did not receive a vote.
Commissioner Emma Darnell said any reduction will mean decreasing services to county residents.
She said the money will be missed by seniors and children living below the poverty line.
“People aren’t sending their money down here for us to make speeches at our party conventions,” Darnell said.
Hausmann attended the Republican National Convention in July.
“People want return for their money; they want some services from this county,” Darnell said. “Efficiently. Cost effectively. We can’t do budgets on ideology.”
Property tax bills are expected to go out in September.
Under the new rate, a home with a fair market value of $100,000 will generate $4,180 in county property taxes.
The same house in 2015 generated a $4,200 county tax bill.
The board also set the south Fulton tax district millage rate at 11.579 mills for 2016, maintaining the 2015 rate.
This fund provides city-type services for residents in unincorporated Fulton County, including parks and recreation, fire and police, county spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt said.
The commissioners were two months late in setting the millage rate due to a software glitch in the tax assessor’s office.
The math error, found in software provided by an outside contractor, would have caused residents to pay more than what they owed.
Commissioner Bob Ellis said the mistake will cost the county more than $14 million.