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Commissioners consider two tax scenarios

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett's property tax dip is not as steep as officials expected this year.

Gwinnett's Chief Appraiser Steve Pruitt told commissioners Tuesday that numbers show about a 6 percent decline in the county's property tax digest.

While thousands of appeals are still pending, Pruitt said he expects the digest of all county property to be $23.6 billion, instead of the $22.8 billion projected two years ago.

"I'm still holding my breath, but it looks more hopeful," Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said.

Based on the numbers, officials prepared two possible scenarios for county property taxes: either remaining at 13.02 mills, which would mean a nearly $15 million loss in revenue compared to 2011, or "rolling up" the property tax rate to 13.80 mills.

State tax laws allow governments to remain revenue neutral without advertising a tax increase. Finance Director Maria Woods noted that the county's median home value remains at $170,000, which would mean an average increase in taxes of $45.24 for those whose tax values remained the same.

But Nash said she had no intention of allowing that to happen. She based her 2012 budget on the county millage rate remaining the same.

"I haven't changed my mind since then," she said.

After months of work to trim expenses, commissioners adopted the 2012 budget with no expected use of fund balance. However, a service delivery lawsuit settlement with local cities promised an $11 million pay out from the county government. According to finance officials Tuesday, the budget now calls for using $6.3 million out of the rainy day fund, although the numbers were based on the steeper property tax decline.

Declining property assessments have troubled local governments since the housing market bubble burst in 2008. Earlier this year, officials said about 80,000 of Gwinnett's 257,000 residential properties decreased in value. On average, those homes decreased in value by 22 percent. Nearly 22,000 appeals were filed for residential property, with another nearly 4,000 for commercial property.

School board members are expected to vote on the school portion of taxes this week, and have advertised keeping the millage rate the same. County commissioners will make the final decision on the government rate July 17, with tax bills expected to be mailed Aug. 15 and due Oct. 15.

Comments

R 2 years, 4 months ago

Dowe, Cheathem or Howe?

Oh sorry - that's the consultant law firm, wrong line item ...

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Say_that_again 2 years, 4 months ago

Watch out! Someone is going to know you listen to "Car Talk" on that "liberal" NPR, though the conservatives of this county probably did not know that you have plagiarized the name their law firm.

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TOWG 2 years, 4 months ago

That joke is older than the guys on Car Talk are.

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CitizenX 2 years, 4 months ago

The Commission knew they were going to lose the Service dispute 2 years ago, so it isn't a surprise. They weren't caught unaware that it would cost them, so the lie about not planning the budget around it won't stick. So go ahead and use the excuse of the service dispute (which you could have settled years ago) to raise our taxes again. I still haven't forgotten the increase every year. Use the increase to cover another lawsuit over bad land deals, please.

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CD 2 years, 4 months ago

We were told no tax increase for this year. Keep your word. Cut the 400k subsidy to the Chamber before anything.

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Sandykin 2 years, 4 months ago

Just so you know, our home is worth 25% less than what we paid for it in 2001. That's not 25% less than the 2008 price when the market fell out. It's much worse than that. Really sucks. I want to know where these figures in this article are coming from.

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teelee 2 years, 4 months ago

I would love to know how much it costs to operate the Environmental and Heritage Center a year. Ninety percent of Gwinnett citizens don't even know it exist or where it is located. They did however vote to spend two million dollars to upgrade the parking and buy more land there. This is where school children are taught how harmful soap suds are to the environment. I would also like to know how much it costs the county to operate the near empty public bus system that clogs up our streets everyday. I am sure that the federal government supplements this program but by how much? Sounds like collecting taxes is not the problem, sounds like we have a spending problem like most governments.

Gwinnett's best kept secret

Gwinnett's best kept secret by teelee

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Cleanupguy 2 years, 4 months ago

Teepee, you should stick with your airport rants, as you obviously know nothing about this topic either. Have you even bothered to take a look at what this center is about? Know anything about the foundation funding, UGA involvement, or anything else whatsoever? Ditto the bus system - finding things out before you demonstrate your cluelessness would spare us all from your spews.

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