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Buford votes to raise millage rate

BUFORD - City commissioners voted Monday to raise the millage rate by two mills, thereby raising taxes. The last time Buford citizens saw a tax increase was in 1976, according to commission chairman Phillip Beard.

Buford's millage rate will rise from 13.35 mills to 15.35 mills. Taxes are calculated by multiplying the assessed value of a property by the millage. A mill is one-tenth of one cent.

Some residents will feel the pinch, and others won't, depending on the value of the resident's home. Buford recently passed legislation that re-worked their homestead exemption that, in some cases, offsets the tax increase. For example, residents who own a home valued at $100,000 with a $40,000 assessment will see a $93 per year drop in taxes. However, owners of a home valued at $30,000 will pay an additional $146 in annual property taxes.

Beard said new state requirements placed on school systems are primarily responsible for the tax increase. Buford operates a city school system.

"School budget mandated and structured programs not fully funded by the state is the sole reason for the millage rate increase," Beard said.

Commission members had planned to vote on a budget for 2007 operating under a millage rate of 16.35 mils. Because commission members voted in the lower 2 mill increase, Buford's financial planners will re-draft the proposed $95 million budget for a September vote.

11 acres annexed

for grading company

An 11-acre parcel on South Richland Creek Road was annexed and rezoned from residential to light manufacturing. The acreage is surrounded by a landfill. David Howington plans to develop a grading company and storage yard on the property. Buford's planning and zoning commission recommended approval of the project and Gwinnett County voiced no objections.

Hertz Rental Car facility

to open

The Hertz Corporation will open a rental car facility in the former Wal-Mart shopping center at 4125 Ga. Highway 20. Commission members approved a special use permit on about one acre for a maximum of 30 cars on site. Buford's planning and zoning commission recommended approval of the project.

Gas line bid awarded

Southern Pipeline submitted the lowest bid of $496,095 to relocate gas lines on Ga. Highway 324.