County to lower millage rate

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Gwinnett County millage rate will be rolled back, officials said Wednesday, a week after leaving the decision up in the air because of revenue pressures.

The rollback of 0.22 mills will save homeowners of a $250,000 house, the Gwinnett average, about $20, Finance Director Lisa Johnsa said. However, state and school property taxes could drive tax bills up by more than $200 due to increases in home values.

While commissioners made the decision to roll back the millage rate to account for increases in property values, a requirement of state law, Johnsa said the pressures of increasing county services while growth slows may mean the trend of lowering taxes may not continue for long.

"Every year, we are budgeting the use of fund balance," or the county's rainy day fund, Johnsa said. "You can't continue with revenues going down and expenses going up. ... Unless growth goes out the roof, there will be a point in time when the county has to do something different."

The Gwinnett County Board of Education will vote in June on Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks' proposal to keep the school millage rate at 20.55.

Three public hearings have been scheduled for residents to address the Board of Education about the millage rate. The hearings will take place 7 p.m. June 4 and 11:45 a.m. and 7 p.m. June 11 in the board room at the Instructional Support Center at 437 Old Peachtree Road N.W. in Suwanee.

Staff Writer Heather Darenberg contributed to this report.