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City Commission will consider request to develop part of Dog Park, millage rate rollback


City Commission will consider request to develop part of Dog Park, millage rate rollback

Decatur City Hall.
Decatur City Hall

Decatur City Hall

The Decatur City Commission meets Monday, May 18, and will consider a request to subdivide part of the Oakhurst Dog Park so a developer can build homes.

Commissioners will also consider adopting a millage rate of 12 mills, one mill lower than the current rate, due to an increase the city’s property values.

The commission’s vote on the Dog Park request could be the end of the road for developer Weaver Capital. On May 5, the city’s Planning Commission voted against the subdivision request from the developer. Weaver Capital wants to buy about a half-acre of the Dog Park from the Boys & Girls Club. The developer estimates the value of these lots at $670,000 to $700,000.

The city maintains the dog park which it leases from the Boys & Girls Club for $1 a year. As the issue has dragged on, the city has reaffirmed its interest in buying the Dog Park property, something it has been interested in for years. The developer, in turn, has offered to sell the parcels to the city after the purchase.

Commissioners will have the ultimate say on whether or not to allow the developer to move forward with his plans to build homes on the property.

In other business, commissioners will have to set the 2015 Millage Rate. Assistant City Manager Andrea Arnold the city’s property tax digest increased by 5 percent, increasing it from 15 percent to 20 percent. Arnold is recommending commissioners reduce the rate by 1 mill, from 13 to 12, which would cost the city $1.5 million in revenue. In an example provided with the meeting agenda, it would save the owner of a $500,000 about $240 per year in taxes.

This would still be a tax increase overall, Arnold notes in her memo to commissioners.

“In 1999, the Georgia General Assembly enacted what is commonly referred to as the ‘Truth in Taxation’ legislation,” Arnold wrote. “The purpose of the legislation is to require local governments to either rollback the millage rate equal to the total value of reassessments on real property; or, to provide advertisements, notice and public hearings if the local government intends to adopt a millage rate in excess of the “rollback” rate. Attached is a copy of the computation showing that the combined millage rollback rate for 2015 would be 11.42 mills, or 0.58 mills lower than the proposed millage rate of 12 mills. This results in the requirement to advertise a 5.08 percent tax increase.”

Commissioners will also soon consider putting a $75 million bond referendum on the ballot to pay for new school construction. If voters approve the request, it will increase property taxes by about 8 percent. According to an example provided by CSD, it would raise taxes on a $500,000 home by $680 per year. The Decatur School Board formally approved the bond request at its May 12 meeting. City Commissioners are expected to approve the School Board’s request and place it on the ballot this November.

The May 18 City Commission meeting begins at 7:30 pm and will be held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street. All meetings are open to the public.