The City of Decatur sent out this release this afternoon…
At their regular meeting on May 18, 2015, the Decatur City Commission adopted a tentative millage rate of 12.00 mills for general operations, capital improvements, bonded indebtedness and downtown development authority operations. This is a reduction from the 2014 millage rate of 13.00 mills; however due to property reassessments, this will represent an average increase of 5.03% in property taxes. This increase is consistent with new development and home sale data tracked by the City for the past three years. The State’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights requires that this increase be advertised. For property that was not reassessed there should be a decrease in property taxes.
Photo courtesy of the Decatur City Commission
The AJC posted a blurb Friday afternoon that noted that due to a 19% increase in the city’s tax digest this year, Decatur Schools would likely drop the millage rate by a full point next year.
Using this calculation, it looks like a full point millage drop would result in roughly a $240/year savings for a Decatur home valued at $500,000.
Additionally, on the agenda for tonight’s City Commission meeting, Asst. City Manager Andrea Arnold is recommending that the city drop its total millage rate by a point due to a sizable 20% increase in the digest. Ms. Arnold states that 15% of the increase is due to re-evaluations by the county and that 5% is due to new construction.
Ms. Arnold estimates the savings at $240/year for a $500,000 Decatur property.
So ultimately, the millage would lower Decatur taxes by roughly $500/year for a $500,000 property.
All of this millage news obviously comes in front of the backdrop that CSD has requested that the City Commission put a $75 million bond in front of Decatur voters this November. That bond has been estimated to raise taxes on a $500,000 property by $680/year.
Ms. Arnold states that the city will hold the state mandated public hearings surrounding the big millage decrease, in addition to another community budget gathering in the coming weeks.
An interesting development in the evolution of Decatur’s ongoing property tax saga.
While the City held the millage rate steady for the coming fiscal year, Decaturish reported yesterday that the Decatur School Board voted to lower their millage rate from 20.9 to 20.5 mills.
Still the school system plans to conclude the school year with a $1.5 million surplus thanks to an estimated 12.75% increase in Decatur’s tax digest, due in part to rising property assessments – another recent discussion here.
Decaturish reported that the school board estimated that the lower millage would cost the system more than $500,000.
CSD plans to hold hearings on the new millage rate on June 19th and July 8th.
Decatur sent out this announcement this morning…
At their regular meeting on May 19, 2014, the Decatur City Commission adopted a tentative millage rate of 13.00 mills for general operations, capital improvements, bonded indebtedness and downtown development authority operations. This is the same as the 2013 millage rate; however due to property reassessments, this will represent an average increase of 6.62% in property taxes. This increase is consistent with new development and home sale data tracked by the City for the past three years. The State’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights requires that this increase be advertised. For property that was not reassessed there should be no increase in property taxes.
The Decatur City Commission will hold public hearings regarding this issue on Monday, June 2, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.; Monday, June 9, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.; and, Monday, June 16, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. The final millage will be set at the Decatur City Commission meeting scheduled for Monday, June 16, 2014. All meetings are held in the City Commission Meeting room, Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street, Decatur. For more information, contact Meredith Roark, Budget & Performance Measurement Manager or Andrea Arnold, Assistant City Manager at (404) 370-4102 or visit the City’s website at www.decaturga.com/budget.
City Schools of Decatur will hold public hearings on their proposed 1 mill increase to the tax rate on Monday, June 6th at 9a and 6:30p and prior to the School Board’s monthly meeting on June 14th at 5:30p. (1 mill = roughly $147.50 tax increase on a $295,000 Decatur home, according to CSD)
Along with the public hearing, CSD posted a public notice on its website detailing the rather recent history of Decatur tax and millage rates (3-4% tax digest increases, mostly millage rate deductions – good!) and the very recent history (declines in the tax digest and a 2% increase in tax exemptions – bad!).
Though the city’s tax base is projected to increase 1% in the coming fiscal year and CSD has reduced Central Office and individual school staffs, CSD lists a variety of contributing factors that require the millage rate to be raised. They include…
- Opening Glenwood Elementary as a K-3 school and Fifth Avenue as the new 4-5 Academy.
- Adding teacher and paraprofessional positions for Exceptional Student Services due to growing enrollment and the new Fifth Avenue 4-5 Academy
- Absorbing positions previously funded by federal stimulus dollars
- Assuming full cost of the nursing program due to discontinuation of partnership with DeKalb Medical
- Implementing a 1.25% cost of living adjustment for employees
Lots more info and docs on this subject on the CSD website.
Don’t forget that a majority of this increase will be wiped out by a decline in your DeKalb taxes due to the city successfully passing state legislation last year that eliminates “double-taxation” on city residents for county services (general police, recreation, etc) they don’t use.
Whether DeKalb raises taxes (by as much as 4 mills by some accounts) remains to be seen.
Decatur’s 2010-2011 city budget is now online and ready for your perusal.
To view the full 235 page document (pdf), CLICK HERE. To view individual sections of the budget document, CLICK HERE and scroll down a bit.
As mentioned in an earlier post, Decatur will hold its millage rate from last year, which thanks to a decline in property reassessments and other property will result in a total budget that is slightly smaller than last year.
Decatur will pull $700,000 out of its reserve fund to fund the 2010-2011 budget. The city did the same thing last year, and according to the AJC, has used $400,000 of the $700,000 reserve fund money earmarked for the current 2009-2010 budget year.
A $5 million increase in tax revenue from new construction in the City of Decatur over the past year wasn’t enough to offset a $9 million decline due to reassessments, according to a letter to the city commission from Assistant City Manager Andrea Arnold (pages 45-46).
Declines were also prevalent across personal property (-14.5%), public utilities (-29%) and motor vehicle values (-8%), though these digests made up only 6% of the total tax digest, resulting in an overall -1.7% decline.
Even with an overall decline in revenue, Arnold is recommending the commission hold the millage rate at last year’s level.
However, Arnold does note that the city commission could technically raise the millage rate slightly from 13.035 to 13.142 mills without being required to advertise it under Georgia’s “Truth in Taxation” legislation because the declines in the overall digest mentioned above would off-set the millage increase, resulting in an overall “decline” in taxes.
Regardless, Arnold recommends two public hearing dates for the budget: Monday June 7th and June 21st. She also notes that the city will solicit feedback on the Open City Hall website.
The city commission is tentatively scheduled to adopt the millage rate at tonight’s meeting: 7:30p at City Hall.