Cities oppose varying millage rate proposal

LAWRENCEVILLE - Seven cities and the county school system have intervened in the county's quest for a temporary tax collection order.

While the school's request is to tell a judge officials approve of a temporary billing so the school system can make its payroll after a delay in property tax billing, more cities are expected to join in the opposition next week.

"I feel betrayed," Snellville Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer said of the county's proposal to have a judge set varying rates for city and county residents. Another judge is considering the issue as part of a court battle over city and county service agreements. "We are not going to sit still for that."

Oberholtzer said he expected his city's intervention to be filed Monday. On Friday, the cities of Buford, Braselton, Duluth and Suwanee filed a joint intervention motion, and the cities of Lawrenceville, Grayson and Sugar Hill made motions individually.

While county officials have blamed the service dispute for a delay in setting the county millage rate, they are seeking a temporary collection order, which would allow a local judge to set a temporary millage rate so tax bills could be issued. Commissioners will still have to set a permanent rate and offer refunds or issue a second set of bills if the rate changes.

A hearing, where county officials and attorneys for all the governments that intervene will make their cases, is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday before Gwinnett Superior Court Judge Timothy Hamil.

Chairman Charles Bannister declined comment Friday.