Mayor Al Thurman provided a tie-breaking vote Monday night to approve a measure maintaining Powder Springs’ 9.5-mill property tax rate, though some property owners could still see tax increases in their bills.
According to City Manager Pam Conner, Thurman’s vote tipped the scales in favor of the millage measure, which had also gotten “aye” votes from council members Doris Dawkins and Henry Lust, while Nancy Farmer and Patricia Wisdom had voted against; the city’s fifth council member, Patrick Bordelon, was out of the country the day of the meeting.
The 9.5-mill rate exceeds by 6.7% the city’s 8.948 “rollback” millage, or the property tax rate it would need to levy in order to collect the same amount of revenue as it did the previous year.
With the average market value for homestead property in Powder Springs being $175,000, such a homeowner would see a tax bill of $665 at the 9.5-mill rate and without exemptions, Conner previously said.
Even with the maintained rate, some residents could see their property tax bills increase as the likelihood of an increased county tax digest and higher property values that often accompany such a trend would lead many property owners to pay more in taxes that do not fall under the city’s homestead exemptions. Commercial properties do not qualify for homestead exemptions and their owners would feel the full effects of higher property valuations.
ELECTED OFFICIALS COULD SEE PAY RAISE
Monday’s meeting also saw the first readings of measures that, if approved, would increase the salaries of the mayor and council members by $3,000 each in the new term beginning Jan. 1, 2020. The raises would not apply to the elected officials in the current term, and voters will go to the polls this November to decide three city races.
Under the city’s current pay structure, the mayor makes $18,000 a year while those on the council make $12,000.
“There hasn’t been an increase in their compensation since 2005,” Conner said. “When we were going through the budget process, looking at the different adjustments, we originally had it as part of the budget ordinance because we were looking at adjustments in pay throughout the city. They wanted it broken out as a standalone ordinance, which we did.”
Both elected positions’ current salaries fall below the averages for those elected across Cobb’s six cities, according to an analysis conducted by the city. Cobb’s six mayors make an average of $24,000, with council members making $14,900.
If approved following their second readings on Aug. 19, council members would see their annual salaries increase to $15,000 next year — just over the Cobb average for those positions — while the mayor’s $21,000 annual pay would remain under that average.
In other business, the council:
♦ Agreed to allow a waiver on some of the building permit and land disturbance fees for Circle 10 Soccer, a major soccer complex that will cost between $7.5 million and $10.5 million. The waiver would cap some of the required fees, leading to the city foregoing about $11,000, Conner said. The project is expected to break ground in August.
♦ Set qualifying periods for the offices of mayor and the post 1 and post 2 council seats. Qualifying will be 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, through Friday, Aug. 23. Voters will head to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 5.