Arthur E. Ferdinand – Fulton County Tax Commissioner
- Tough economic times have heightened everyone’s concern at the mention of increased obligations of any type, especially taxes. As such, taxpayers are anxious, not only about new property assessments, but also about tax increases, and millage rates. Fulton County and local governing authorities are responding to these economic pressures.
All of us are experiencing stresses on our budgets. Governments are no different. The cost of travel has increased; the cost of putting food on the table has risen; and in the case of the governing authorities in Fulton County, the cost of providing basic services has increased as well. The cost of fire fighting services, police protection, health services, and Grady Hospital support, just to name a few of County and municipality services, increased over the prior year.
The Fulton County Board of Assessors and its appraisers recently reassessed Fulton County properties with the focus on commercial properties where values increased an average of 40%. At the same time, 171,000 residential properties saw no change in appraised values, 84,000 saw decreased appraisals, while 44,000 residential values increased.
Governments may opt to use the additional tax revenue gained from growth in value as a means of funding the increased cost of services provided to citizens without increasing millage rates. If any Georgia municipality or agency decides to do so, the law requires they advertise this fact. Fulton County did just that for the General Fund and the South Fulton Special Service District. They did so in order to pay for the increased cost of providing the same services provided to residents in 2007.
In the case of the South Fulton Special Service District the growth in taxes resulting from an increase in existing property values amounted to 3.29%, and goes toward maintaining services in South Fulton at the current level. The equivalent growth in the Fulton County General Fund was 10.12%.
Despite the growth in tax revenue as a result of increased property values, the millage rate for County taxes remains the same as it was in 2007.