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Douglasville considers budget, tax increase
by Bill Baldowski
June 11, 2014 11:58 AM | 1033 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Douglasville City Council is expected to vote on the city’s proposed fiscal year 2014-2015 general fund budget of $23.6 million at a special called meeting June 25.

If the council passes the proposed budget, city residents will see a one mill increase in their property taxes, which would be used for maintenance and operations.

In addition, city taxpayers will pay an additional 1.86 mills as part of a service delivery agreement with Douglas County for fire protection and animal control.

Douglasville finance director Karin Callan cautioned that city council members still have the option of making changes before the budget is passed.

“Everything in the budget is fluid and subject to change,” she said.

Douglasville City Manager Bill Osborne said a combination of increased revenue or cuts in expenditures must equal $1.6 million to balance the proposed budget.

Callan said, for a house assessed at $100,000, the one mill increase combined with the 1.86 mill for service delivery will have that homeowner paying an additional $114.40 in property taxes annually. Douglasville Mayor Harvey Persons said the required public hearing on the budget is June 18 at 6 p.m. in the Douglasville Conference Center, 6701 Church St. in Douglasville.

Callan said that since 2008, Douglasville had lost more than $1 million in value from its tax digest. Osborne reaffirmed he will recommend to the council the one-mill tax increase, which would increase Douglasville property taxes from its present 3.853 mills to 4.853 mills.

“This [one mill] increase should generate an increase in our property tax revenue by $943,000,” Osborne said. “We are not expecting any revenue for this budget to come from our reserve funds.”

Although the city’s property tax revenue, which has dropped in the last four years due to the recession, is now showing a slow recovery, Osborne said the city’s sales tax revenue also has declined, resulting in what he said is a budget deficit of $1.6 million.

Last year in hopes the economic recovery would continue, the council used money from its reserve fund to balance the budget.

Due to the budget shortfall, the city has temporarily laid aside any consideration of implementing a new pay plan for city employees.

Persons said state law requires the city to have a balanced budget by June 30.

“The city has been working very hard on the budget, as we have been conducting budget meetings with the city council for the last two months,” Osborne said.

The mayor said the tax money Douglasville uses to operate is its residents’ money and the city has been conservative and frugal in spending taxpayer dollars.

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