Game of Chicken
Who will be the first to blink? Now that the commission has advertized a tax increase (I think the actual advertisement will run on Thursday), has the commission backed itself into a corner? The last public hearing is scheduled to take place on June 30th at 6pm. The new budget starts on July 1. Hmmm, they are not giving themselves a lot of time to work out the revenue and expense numbers.
If you look at the budget presentation, you will notice one of the chairman’s favorite slides (20) shows the millage rate comparison with neighboring counties. This slide is slowly become a historical dream as the commission considers a 1.41 millage hike on top of the rollup already announced in the Fire Fund (.14 unincorporated and .37 incorporated). So if you live in an unincorporated area, your rate will be 9.31 mills vs. 10.74 if you live in a city. Yes, if you live in a city, the only county touching hall with a higher millage rate will be Gwinnett!
It’s not so bad for me because I live in the county; but, if you live in the city (let’s say Flowery Branch) your millage rate actually goes up by 1.78 mills. When you add it to your city taxes, you pay 13.577 mills. Other cities are in a similar situation, but the people that should be the most aggravated are those from the City of Gainesville; in their case, they don’t see most of the service issues as they have their own parks and rec. They also have their own fire district. So their rate would essentially be 7.66 for the county (they have their own fire district) and 7.3 mills for the City (their millage rate is only 2.92, but it is based on 100% of value, not 40% like the county) for a whopping 14.96 mills!
The problem the commission has gotten itself into is what to do if they do not raise the tax. You see, they had an opportunity to get people off payroll on this fiscal year. Now they will have to take an additional $500k+ hit for next fiscal year, putting them even more in the hole.
So, will three people come to their senses and pass a budget at the next meeting, or will they wait until the final hour? Let’s see who blinks first.
Hugh Hall County Akston