The city of Grantville plans to keep the same property tax millage rate as last year, instead of taking the “rollback” rate.
City administration is proposing that the city keep the rate of 5.945. Because the city’s tax digest – the total value of all property in the city – has increased by almost $11 million, the millage rate will bring in $64,702 more than it did last year.
That means keeping the same millage rate is equivalent to a 20 percent tax increase.
The city’s total net digest is $64,178,702, and the proposed millage rate will bring in $381,542. The digest and the expected tax revenue could be impacted by property value appeals that are currently underway.
For the increased digest to bring in the same amount of money on existing properties (new construction is not included in the calculation), the city would have to adopt the rollback millage rate of 5.228 mills.
For a home valued at $150,000, the tax increase is equivalent to $40.15 a year, according to a press release from the city.
The millage rate will “give the city of Grantville a cost-of-living increase as everything continues to go up – labor costs, material and supplies,” said City Manager Al Grieshaber.
The proposed rate will put the city in the same financial position it was in 2016, Grieshaber said. In addition to partially compensating for increased costs, it will provide employee benefits that have been advocated by city council members without impacting the city’s general fund.
In 2015, the council approved what Grieshaber called a “draconian” millage rate decrease to 1.48 mills. It was raised to 5.25 in 2016. The city then reduced the rate to 5.06 in 2017 and 4.959 in 2018, before passing the milage rate of 5.945 last year.
Under Georgia law, implementing a tax increase requires three public hearings. Hearings, held at the Glanton Municipal Complex, will be Aug. 3 at 9 a.m., Aug. 10 at 6:30 p.m. and Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m.
In an email to Grieshaber and the Grantville Council, Councilman Jim Sells said the council should have been notified before scheduling the public hearings.
“The mayor and cm (city manager) can do this, I know of no other way,” Sells said in the email. “I am asking an elected official to join me in a special called meeting to discuss accepting the rollback and not increasing taxes. This should have come to the council first.”
Grieshaber said the city’s charter requires the city manager to present the annual budget to the council no later than 60 days prior to the beginning of each fiscal year.
Because of the NTH’s publication schedule and charter and OCGA requirements, Grieshaber said the public hearings had to be scheduled prior to the council’s meeting Monday, which is the first regularly scheduled meeting after the tax digest was received from the tax commissioner.
The council can approve a rate lower than the advertised rate of 5.945, but cannot set a higher rate.
While the final determination on the rate is, of course, up to the city council, “our financial analyst and I think this is where it belongs,” Grieshaber said.
NTH Staff Reporter Kandice Bell contributed to this story.