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City of Decatur tax rate will increase slightly to pay for Legacy Park debt

Decaturish updates

City of Decatur tax rate will increase slightly to pay for Legacy Park debt

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Decatur City Hall.


At its regular meeting on Monday, May 20, the Decatur City Commission adopted tentative millage rates that would include a slight tax increase to pay for debt service on the Legacy Park property.

Under the proposed tax increase, a home worth $500,000 would pay an additional $64. The increase is expected to generate about $1.5 million to make the payments on the Legacy Park debt.

The city purchased the 77-acre campus, formerly known as the United Methodist Children’s Home, in 2017 for $40 million. The city made the purchase using its newly created Public Facilities Authority, which borrowed most of the money for the deal. The city also received a low interest $11.5 million loan through the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority. The loan paid for the purchase of 22 acres out of the total 77 acre campus on South Columbia Drive. The city won’t be able to develop this property as part of the loan agreement.

“A preliminary tax digest was received from the DeKalb County Board of Tax Assessors on May 8,” a memo from City Manager Andrea Arnold says. “While it is still subject to change, the report shows an increase of 9 percent in the real property digest. In order to produce tax revenue sufficient to fund the proposed budget based on the preliminary digest figures, the following millage rates are recommended for your consideration. It is recommended that the 2019 combined millage rate be increased 0.3 mill from 13.62 mills to 13.92 mills.”

Here are the recommended millage rates by category:

Image obtained via the city of Decatur

Arnold said due to the state’s Truth in Taxation law, the city has to either roll back the millage to equal the total value of reassessments on property or advertise that the city intends to charge a millage above the rollback rate.

“The proposed millage rate of 13.92 is 1.189 mills higher than the calculated rollback rate,” Arnold’s memo says. “This results in the requirement to advertise a 9.34 percent tax increase. For comparison, the city advertised a 9.16 percent increase in 2018. Because the proposed millage rate exceeds the rollback rate, a series of public hearings must be held and the calculated increase must be advertised. Those public hearings will be held on Monday, June 3, 2019 at 7:30 p.m., Monday, June 10, 2019 at 6 p.m., and Monday, June 17, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.”

For more information about the proposed millage increase, click here.

Editor’s note: Parts of this story were reported by viewing a live stream of the May 20 Decatur City Commission meeting. 

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