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After 23 Years, Was Fulton County Due a Tax Hike?

Staring at a $99 million gap in their proposed $569 million general fund budget, county commissioners have raised property taxes by 15 percent to help make up the difference.

Last week, the BOC approved a $569 million general fund budget for fiscal year 2014. Courtesy Fulton County
Last week, the BOC approved a $569 million general fund budget for fiscal year 2014. Courtesy Fulton County  Download PDF 

The Fulton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) is set to meet Wednesday morning at the Fulton County Government Center in downtown Atlanta. 

The regular meeting begins at 10 a.m. and can be viewed on the county's government access channel, FGTV. Wednesday's agenda can be found here.

Last week, the BOC approved a $569 million general fund budget for fiscal year 2014 that among other things, provides county employees with a three percent cost of living pay raise, and calls for a $5.75 million investment in infrastructure to fund capital improvement projects.

But staring at a $99 million gap in their proposed $569 million general fund budget, the commissioners raised property taxes by 15 percent. By assuming a millage rate increase of 1.57 mills, which commissioners won't approve until summer, the county will generate about $55.5 million.

Still, the first county-wide tax increase since 1991 is in direction opposition to the General Assembly, which led by Republicans, signaled that the county spends too much, and last year passed a law prohibiting the county from increasing property taxes until 2015.

Whether what the commissioners, who voted last summer to repeal the law, did is legal or not may have to be decided in court, which of course could cost Fulton tax dollars.

The budget was approved by a 5-2 vote with Chairman John Eaves, Vice Chairwoman Emma Darnell, and Commissioners Bill Edwards, Joan Garner and Tom Lowe supporting and Commissioners Liz Hausmann and Robb Pitts opposing.  

What are your thoughts on the tax rate increase? Let us know in the comment section below.

AJM February 07, 2014 at 03:26 PM
The idea that Fulton is 'due' a tax hike is silly. In the last 23 years, property values have gone up a lot more than the rate of inflation. If they want to boost property taxed 15% based upon the values of 1991, then they are more than welcome.

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