Brookhaven City Council members are optimistic about the city’s revenue as they prepare to vote on Brookhaven’s first tax rate July 8.
The city held three public hearings on June 17 and 20 to explain what residents can expect on their city tax bill and to hear input from the public about the proposed tax rate.
Finance Director Bonnie Kline said June 17 that if the Council approves a millage rate of 3.35, the city would bring in about $6 million in property taxes in 2013.
“We’re looking at almost a million and a half more in property taxes than we originally estimated. I take that as good news,” said City Councilwoman Rebecca Chase Williams.
The council is considering a millage of 3.35, the maximum allowed under the city’s charter. Officials have proposed this rate due to low revenues that are expected during the city’s first year of operation.
Property taxes are calculated by multiplying the assessed value of property by the city’s millage.
Kline explained that taxes are levied on 40 percent of a home’s fair market value. So 40 percent of a $250,000 house is $100,000. Subtracting $20,000 for the city’s homestead tax exemption leaves $80,000. Multiplying that $80,000 by 3.35 mills means the property owner would pay $268 in taxes, if the proposed millage is approved by council.
During the public hearing June 17, resident Stephanie Miller asked council members not to raise her taxes above what she paid before the city incorporated.
“I’d love to not have to pay one dollar extra over what I paid last year,” Miller said. “I’m looking at a $750 increase over a two-year period. That’s a lot of money.”
Resident Karen Lord also asked council members to keep taxes low. “I want everybody to remember this city was sold to us as less taxes and better services,” Lord said.
Williams said council would like to make the tax rate as low as possible. But more information, including the portion of DeKalb County’s HOST credit the city will receive, is needed before they will be able to make that decision.
“I know all of us share a desire to reduce the millage … but to do that we need more numbers,” Williams said. “Mindful of all that, I think we’ll keep getting the information and sit here with sharpened pencils.”