FoCo Commissioners present proposed millage rate plan, open to public comments

Justine Lookenott

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The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners held the first two public hearings on the county’s millage rates on July 7(Image by Michelle Hall)

(Forsyth County, GA) The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners held the first two public hearings on the county’s Maintenance & Operations, Bond and Fire Millage Rates on Thursday, July 7 at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Chief Financial Officer Marcus Turk gave an overview of the county’s 2023 budget. The county intends to keep the Maintenance & Operations, Bond and Fire millage rates the same for the 2023 general operating budget.

The millage rate public hearing presentation

Turk opened up the presentation with an overview of the General Fund summary.

“The chart display illustrates projected General Fund revenues to be $186.1 million for fiscal year 2023,” Turk said. “Total revenues are expected to increase by 13.4 percent over the 2022 adopted budget …The $3.3 million of additional revenue represents a 22 percent increase over the 2022 adopted budget. Total revenues for 2023 are projected to be $26.9 million.”

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The General Fund Budget Summary(Image by Forsyth County Government)

“The combined fiscal year revenues in the bond fund will be used to service not only debt required in 2023, but to save approximately $1.2 million of interest by servicing additional debt due in future years,” Turk said. “This means the County plans to pay off some bonded indebtedness early.”

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The Bond Fund Budget Summary(Image by Forsyth County Government)

“It is important to note the growth digest grew by 21.48 percent from $16.7 billion last year to $20.3 billion this year, while the amount of exemptions, including the floating homestead exemption, increased by 63.14 percent,” Turk said. “The result is a net tax digest increase of 13.45 percent or roughly $9 million of additional revenues to the County. Of this amount, $6 million will be requested to be transferred to the Bond Fund to pay off additional general obligation debt.”

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The Current 2022 Tax Digest and 5 year History of Levy(Image by Forsyth County Government)

“The 2022 Tax Digest was finalized on May 26,” Turk said. “As of the final digest the total net taxable value of real and personal property within Forsyth County is $15.8 billion. The growth in the net digest is approximately $1.9 billion or 13.45 percent. Of the 13.45 percent growth, 4.61 percent is due to new construction in 2021 and the remaining 8.84 percent comes from increased values from reassessment.”

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The Net Tax Digest(Image by Forsyth County Government)

The following slide is the adopted millage rate for 2023, which was decided by the Forsyth County Board of Education on June 28.

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The Millage Rate(Image by Forsyth County Government)

Public Comments

There was one comment from a citizen during the 11 a.m. public hearing.

Steven Schroeder from the Vickery Village Community, voiced his opposition to the millage rates for management & operations, saying there should be a discount of 10 to 12 percent due to the “exorbitant” assessment value decided by the Assessor’s Office for the year.

He said that while the Assessor's Office stated the average property value had increased by 21.6 percent, his community saw increased rates as high as 29 to 32 percent.

“I know personally of 21 property owners at Vickery Village that have filed appeals currently because the assessed value is just overstated,” Schroeder said. “So if we're at 30, 31 percent increase in property values and those property owners do not win their appeals, then I think the millage rate for M&O should be decreased between 10 to 12 percent for next year.”

There was some discussion over Schroeder’s concerns, with Commissioner Todd Levent saying that the Board of Commissioners does not have any say in what the Assessor’s Office does concerning the topic and that the county taxes (which include a homestead exemption) differ from the school board taxes.

No comments were given at the 5 p.m. public hearing.

The next steps for the Forsyth County budget are listed below:

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The Next Steps and Schedule for the County Millage Rates(Image by Forsyth County Government)

To watch the whole 11 a.m. meeting, visit forsythco.com/meetings. The 5 p.m. meeting can be watched here.

If you have a news tip in Forsyth County, contact Justine Lookenott at justine.lookenott@newsbreak.com.

To learn more about property taxes in Forsyth County, read "Still confused about high property taxes? FoCo officials offer explanations."

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I cover local news in Forsyth County, GA. My debut into the writing world began at the age of 10 when I won an essay contest in Around Acworth Magazine in which I wrote about spending the summer with my pet goat, Eclair. Since graduating from Kennesaw State University, I have been published in several newspapers and magazines in the Atlanta area including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta School Guide, What Now Atlanta, Newcomer Magazine, the Marietta Daily Journal and the Cherokee Tribune.

Forsyth County, GA
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