By Amy Wenk
amywenk@reporternewspapers.net

Some Sandy Springs officials are urging the Fulton County Board of Education not to raise property taxes.

Mayor Eva Galambos and Dist. 2 Councilwoman Dianne Fries said they were against the board’s proposal to raise the tax rate by one mill during a July 27 public hearing at Dunwoody Springs Elementary School in Sandy Springs.

The next public hearing on the millage is set for Aug. 3 at 11 a.m. at the school district’s Administrative Center, 786 Cleveland Avenue. The board will vote on whether to raise the millage rate the same day at 6 p.m.

“I do not think in this economic climate it makes any sense for any governmental entity to raise property taxes,” Galambos said.

Fries told the board to “get the fat out of the whole administrative” department and not to cut programs for the students. “Cobb County didn’t raise their millage rate. I hope you don’t,” she said.

After the public hearing, Dist. 7 School Board Member Julia Bernath, who represents some Sandy Springs schools, said “We certainly appreciate their comments … but we’ve been faced with no other choice because of cuts in other places.”

The school board proposes to raise the millage from 17.502 to 18.502 to generate $28.7 million for its 2011 budget, which it approved June 22. The board needed to close a budget gap of about $100 million. It cut band and orchestra from elementary school and fired employees, among other things.

If the board raises the millage, owners of a home assessed at $150,000 would see an increase of approximately $58 on their next property tax bill. Property taxes are figured by multiplying the assessed value of a property by the millage.