To the editor:
Jim Buckler’s contention that we increased Sandy Springs taxes is wrong (“How the city raises your taxes, simplified,” Sept. 5-18). His argument is based on the fact that Sandy Springs estimated a tax collection rate 8 percent lower than previous collection rates by the Fulton County tax commissioner. When we realized a better tax collection rate, he calls this a tax increase.
Since when is it a tax increase when people pay the taxes they owe? Since when is it a tax increase when the tax commissioner succeeds in achieving a better tax collection rate? All he is doing is collecting taxes owed. No more, no less.
As for the increase in the digest, primarily because of reassessments of commercial properties in Sandy Springs, this would have been a windfall in tax collections — if it had materialized. However, the vast majority of these reassessments have been put on hold by appeals, so it appears there will be no windfall.
By the way, at the time of the millage rate discussions, I unsuccessfully urged the council for a partial rollback so commercial properties would not have been affected as much. As it turns out, it appears they will not be affected anyhow.
Readers also need to know that the Sandy Springs charter prohibits a millage rate increase without a referendum of the people; homeowners’ tax assessments cannot rise more than 3 percent per year or the rate of inflation; and the city of Sandy Springs’ tax rate is among the lowest for all of Fulton County.
Eva Galambos, mayor