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Forsyth County tax rate should remain same
$4.3 million in requests still on chopping block

The county millage rate is not expected to go up in 2018, but Forsyth County should see more tax revenue.

Forsyth County commissioners heard their first presentation of the 2018 budget on Tuesday and voted unanimously to keep the millage rate at 8.036 mills, the same as 2016 and 2017. The overall tax digest is expected to go up after reassessments of home values last year.

“The estimated digest has an 8.3 percent tax increase in it that will generate about $3.8 million more for us to work with in the general fund budget,” said Dave Gruen, the county’s chief financial officer.

The Board of Commissioners will hold public hearings on the proposed budget

  • July 6: 11 a.m.
  • July 6: 5 p.m.
  • July 20: 6 p.m.

The millage rate is the formula that calculates property taxes. One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 in assessed property value, which is 40 percent of the actual market value.

For weeks, the county’s finance committee has met with representatives from county departments to discuss the budget and make cuts to spending proposals. The county still needs to cut about $4.3 million. 

The general fund is expected to bring in about $126 million for 2018, and the expenditures are expected to be about $123 million. 

“You start off in a good position of having funds available of just over $2.6 million,” Gruen said.

General fund proposal include: $14.3 million for the total judicial system; $44.5 million for public safety; $701,400 for public works; $4.3 million for health and welfare; $7 million for libraries, parks and extension services; and $7 million for housing and development.

Other funds are expected to be balanced with equal revenues, with bonds at $19.8 million, the fire department at $23.4 million, grants at $4.2 million and insurance premiums at $10.4 million.

The presentation compared the budget with surrounding counties and past years.

For the fire and maintenance and operations millage rates, which totals about 6.6 mills, Forsyth had the lowest rate among metro-Atlanta counties in 2016, including Gwinnett (10) Hall (8.4) and Cherokee (9.1).

General fund expenditures are expected to increase 4.2 percent from $118 million in 2017 to $122 million in 2018.

The county’s millage rate includes fire, general obligation bonds and maintenance and operations and is separate from millage rates for Forsyth County Schools and the state to equal the total millage rate for tax payers.

The budget will likely next be presented at the commission’s June 20 work session. On July 6, first and second public hearings will be held at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., and a third public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. on July 20.

On Oct. 24, the board will hear a presentation of the budget, and a public hearing will be held on Nov. 2. The budget will be up for adoption on Nov. 16.