The city has maintained that rate since 2009 while providing additional tax relief to citizens by increasing Alpharetta’s homestead exemption to $40,000 — the highest such exemption in Georgia.
The city is holding three public hearings on the proposed budget at City Hall, 2 South Main Street, in the council chambers. The meetings are June 4 at 7:30 p.m., June 11 at 6:30 p.m. and June at 7:30 p.m.
Citizens can view the proposed budget at www.alpharetta.ga.us.
The proposed budget includes several important capital and operating initiatives, including debt service on the voter-approved city center bonds and various economic development projects designed to create a healthy local economy through the attraction, growth and retention of businesses.
Another initiative is a $2.4 million recurring capital program to maintain infrastructure within the city. Projects include milling and resurfacing of city streets, traffic signal repair and maintenance and storm water maintenance.
Though the city’s overall millage rate would stay the same under the proposal, some changes would be made to its individual components.
The portion of the millage rate dedicated to debt service on municipal bonds would decrease by 0.605 mills to a total of 0.930 mills. The maintenance and operations portion would absorb that savings and increase to a total of 4.820 mills to fund the recurring capital program.
Even though the city’s total millage rate will stay the same, under state law, the city has to advertize an increase because of the shift in both millage rate components.
“The advertisement could be confusing to some,” stated the city’s finance director Tom Harris. Harris said citizens may see the advertisement and think the city is “bringing in more tax revenue overall.”
But Harris said, “That is definitely not the case. In fact, our tax revenue will be decreasing.”
Harris said the city is expecting property tax revenues to decrease from last year due to a decline in the overall tax digest.
According to Harris, the city will see a decrease in taxes with a greater portion of the millage rate being subject to Alpharetta’s homestead exemption.
“Georgia law does not allow the homestead exemption to be applied to the debt service portion of the millage rate,” he stated. “Since the debt service millage is dropping while the overall millage is staying the same, more of the total bill will be subject to the homestead exemption, which will lead to lower tax bills for residents whose values remained flat or declined.”
But some residents could see an increase in taxes if their property value is adjusted upwards by the county assessor. However, according to city officials, the digest in total and the tax revenues are projected to be down.