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Council Considers No Change To Millage Rate For Coming Budget Year

Released May 21, 2020 11:58 AM
The budget up for consideration by the Alpharetta City Council proposes to leave the millage rate at its current 5.750 level through the 2020 tax year/2021 fiscal year. The City has maintained that rate since 2009 while providing additional tax relief to citizens through a portfolio of homestead exemptions (discussed below) including increases taking effect in fiscal year 2021 that will save our homeowners an additional $360,000 annually. The fiscal year 2021 budget reflects the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and is built upon a continuation of essential services to our community including infrastructure maintenance.

The city’s millage rate is composed of two separate levies that total 5.75 mills: the maintenance & operations (M&O) levy provides funding for essential city services and capital investment and is proposed at a rate of 4.935 mills; the bond levy provides funding for the city’s voter-approved general obligation debt and is proposed at a rate of 0.815 mills. While the overall millage levy is remaining flat with the prior fiscal year at 5.75 mills, the components are changing as the city is shifting 0.115 mills from the bond millage to the M&O millage to provide funding flexibility for city services and capital investment.

Due to the impact of property tax reassessments, coupled with the millage shift described above, the city is advertising a property tax increase of 6.4% for the M&O millage levy (the larger of the two levies) and a property tax decrease of -8.4% for the bond levy.

When the total digest of taxable property is prepared, Georgia law requires the computation of a rollback millage rate that will produce the same total revenue on the current year’s digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced had no reassessments occurred. The proposed M&O millage rate exceeds the rollback millage rate, therefore, before the City Council can set a final millage rate, Georgia law requires the advertisements discussed above as well as three public hearings to be held to allow the public an opportunity to express their opinions on the increase. 

The public hearings and will be held on the following dates and times in the Council Chambers at Alpharetta City Hall located at 2 Park Plaza:

  •   June 1, 2020 at 6:30 PM
  •   June 15, 2020 at 6:30 PM
  •   June 22, 2020 at 6:30 PM

Please check the City’s website for potential status changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic (such as hosting a virtual public hearing as opposed to in-person).

Citizens are also encouraged to view the adopted budget on the City of Alpharetta website and through our online Financial Transparency Portal.

The FY 2021 millage rate, coupled with the city’s substantial Homestead Exemptions, goes great lengths in keeping Alpharetta an affordable place to live and strategically positions us relative to neighboring areas. 

The city’s multiple homestead exemptions are estimated to save our homeowners $5 million annually and include:

  • Floating Homestead exemption that caps the taxable value growth of homesteaded properties to the lesser of 3% or CPI;

  • Basic Homestead exemption of $45,000 off the assessed value of homesteaded properties which is among the highest in the State;

     -  Voters approved increasing the exemption by $5,000 effective with the FY 2021 Budget which will save our homeowners over $300,000 in the 1st year alone.

  • Senior Basic Homestead exemption of $25,000 off the assessed value of homesteaded properties for residents age 65 and older;

     -  Prior to FY 2021, the Senior Basic Homestead exemption was split between a general $15,000 exemption and an income-restricted $10,000 exemption. Voters approved removing the income restriction on the $10,000 exemption which will be implemented with the FY 2021 Budget and save our homeowners over $60,000 in the 1st year alone.

  • Senior full-value exemption available to residents age 70 and older who meet certain income requirements.