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    Fulton County commissioners took the first steps Wednesday towards the first property tax hike in the county since 1991 (WSB-TV)

    The county will hold three public hearings on the proposed millage rate increase on July 9 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and July 16 at 10 a.m.

    Commissioners will vote on the millage rate after the 10 a.m. public hearing on July 16.

    by: Mike Petchenik

    ATLANTA – Fulton County commissioners took the first steps Wednesday towards the first property tax hike in the county since 1991.

    WSB-TV VIDEO

    The 5-2 vote only triggers advertisements and public meetings ahead of a July 16 vote. Commissioners Liz Hausmann and Robb Pitts voted against advertising the rate.

    Fulton County Commission chairman John Eaves says the county is facing a $48 million budget shortfall. The county manager has recommended plugging the hole by hiking property taxes 17.4 percent. On a $275,000 home, that would increase taxes about $140 a year.

    “As the board we’re doing our best to mitigate things and make some tough decisions,” said Eaves. “We’ve been holding the line on taxes, but the reality is, the economy still hasn’t turned around yet and there are a multitude of services that we have to provide, some of which are mandated, some of which are discretionary, but all services are constituents want.”

    A tax hike proposal is not sitting well with some homeowners.

    “My home backs up to Gwinnett County,” said Michael Fitzgerald. “From my backyard I can see property that is taxed 30 percent less than mine. Can anybody explain that?”

    Fitzgerald told commissioners he didn’t think they were adjusting to the reality of a diminished role in providing services to county taxpayers since the incorporation of several cities in north and south Fulton County.

    “You want the taxpayers to dig you out of your dilemma,” he said.

    Bob Gray, of Johns Creek, told commissioners, raising taxes isn’t the answer.

    “A small and limited government is not only just a philosophy that’s inherent in the country’s founding documents, but it’s grounded on core economic principals,” he said.

    North Fulton commissioner Hausmann told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik she can’t support a tax hike, and would prefer the commission find ways to cut costs first.

    “There are some real internal, administrative things we need to look at,” she said.  “We need to look at how we manage our fleets, how we manager our accounts payable, how we manage our payroll (and) our human resources.”

    Hausmann said many of her constituents saw increases on their property tax assessments this year, so a hike, coupled with increased values, will hurt homeowners even more.

    “I do think our revenues are improving. The tax collections are higher than we anticipated,” she said.  “I do hope the commission will take a breath today.”

    The county will hold three public hearings on the proposed millage rate increase on July 9 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and July 16 at 10 a.m.

    Commissioners will vote on the millage rate after the 10 a.m. public hearing on July 16.

     

    http://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/fulton-co-officials-attempt-first-property-tax-hik/138302012

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