Cobb’s property tax revenues are expected to bring in over $25 million more than last year, allowing the county to avoid spending cuts or a millage rate increase as was feared during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The windfall was expected to be announced at the Board of Commissioners’ meeting Tuesday morning in conjunction with the first of three public hearings on the 2021 millage rate.
“All other listed sources of revenue, with the exception of ‘Other Taxes,’ will be down from last year,” Cobb spokesperson Ross Cavitt told the MDJ.
Commissioners are set to keep the millage rate at 8.46 mills, set by then-Chairman Mike Boyce in 2018 and not raised since. Soaring property values around the county resulted in an estimated 5.5% growth in the tax digest.
Despite the steady millage rate, property taxes are still going up because of that rise in assessed values. Under state law, the county is required to advertise the effective increase, which comes to around 5.35%, or $51.60 for a house with a fair market value of $325,000.
Were the county to implement a millage “rollback”—a reduction of the rate to offset the increase in revenues—the millage rate would be, at maximum, 8.03 mills. No such rollback is planned for this year.
Along with the millage rate hearing, Finance Director Bill Volckmann is expected to present the fiscal 2022 budget to commissioners Tuesday. Last year’s budget, passed during the height of the pandemic, was drafted with the expectation that the county would be in for dire financial straits. No tax digest growth was anticipated, and the budget included no pay raises for county employees and no new staff positions.
Those fiscal constraints appear to have slackened this year. As proposed, general fund expenditures will rise from $473.8 million to $496.6 million, a roughly 4.8% increase. Details have yet to emerge on where the additional spending will be flowing, but expanded personnel across county departments is expected to be a significant part of the budget.
The budget will take effect with the start of the new fiscal year on October 1, and is expected to be approved later this summer.