South Fulton’s City Council voted on Wednesday night to approve a millage rate of 12.899 mills for fiscal year 2021. The new rate represents an increase of a half mill over the projected rollback rate.
The tax increase for a homestead property with a fair market value of $100,000 is approximately $5.00 and the proposed tax increase for a non-homestead property with a fair market value of $100,000 is approximately $20.00.
According to officials and city staff, leaving the rate at its previous level would have resulted in a budget deficit of nearly $2.4 million.
“Raising the millage rate – and property taxes – is not a decision we take lightly,” said Mayor William “Bill” Edwards in a statement. “But, a millage increase is an effective tool available to us as we work to manage through a significant loss in revenue.”
“Rest assured it is not our first choice. In fact, after the pandemic started, every department reduced expenses by 16 percent for FY20, creating a savings of $7.8 million. They also reduced their proposed FY21 budgets by the same 16 percent to address an extended loss of revenue in FY21.”
Like many cities across the United States, many of South Fulton’s revenue-generating activities have either slowed or completely halted. Additionally, Fulton County removed property and planes at the Fulton County Airport from the city’s tax digest resulting in an eight percent decrease.
The millage rate increase could be temporary. Officials have discussed reducing the millage rate next year if the city reaches previous revenue levels and a reduction is feasible.
Following the adoption of the millage rate, South Fulton’s City Council is now set to complete the process of adopting a budget for FY21. The first public hearing on the proposed budget took place on Aug. 25. Additional budget hearings will be held on Sept. 10 and Sept. 15 at 10 a.m.
Budget adoption is scheduled for Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. All meetings will be live-streamed on the city’s YouTube channel.