Atlanta Public Schools to hold public hearings on FY15 tax increase due to higher property valuations – millage rate remain the same as last year

The Atlanta Public Schools announced that it will be holding public hearings on the increase in total property tax revenue for FY15 as a result of an increase in the total valuation of the tax digest. The millage rates will remain the same as in FY14 – 21.64 mills. The public hearings will be held to conform with the GA statutes on the tax “rollback” provisions (see GA code provisions here and an explanation of the “rollback” provisions below).

For the AJC article on the public hearings and increase in property tax revenues, see here.

This was the case last year and there was little or no controversy about the same action taken then by the prior Board of Education (see AJC article here). Given that the property tax revenues are still well below the highs reached in FY09 (see below), I would not expect there to be any controversy on the Board’s action when it votes on the issue next week in a Special Legislative Meeting on Thursday, June 19th  at 7 p.m.

Historical Property Tax Revenues – From a historical perspective, the property tax revenues took a steep dive during the recession and are now starting to increase, but still remain well below the highest levels. In FY09, APS property tax revenues amounted to approximately $514 million and then reached a low point in FY13 at $413 million (a 20% decrease). The current APS FY15 budget anticipates that property taxes will be approximately $455 million, subject to a final determination based on the final tax digest which may be slightly lower than the original forecast made in February. Based on a an estimated range of $445-455 million in property tax revenues, the total increase in property taxes for APS is approximately $30-40 million over FY14. For a full history of property tax revenues, see here (page 80).

Rollback Provision Explained – Under the GA “rollback” provisions, a taxing authority (including APS) must calculate what the millage rate would be to raise approximately the same tax revenue as in the previous year given the higher total valuation of all properties in the tax digest. In this case, to keep the same general level of property tax revenues, the “rollback” rate was calculated at 21.09 mills. However, APS will maintain the same millage rate as last year – 21.64 mills – and the result will be an increase in total budgeted property tax revenues for FY15 of approximately $30-40 million over estimated property tax revenues for FY14.

The net result for property tax payers is as follows:

  • If the valuation of your property has REMAINED THE SAME as last year, you should not see any change in your property taxes as it relates to APS.
  • If the valuation of your property has INCREASED from last year, you will see an increase in property taxes based upon the incremental valuation over last year.
  • If the valuation of your property has DECREASED from last year, you will see a decrease in property taxes based upon the lower valuation as compared to last year.

The full text of the press release issued by APS is below.

ABE holds public hearings for property tax increase

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Board of Education (ABE) will hold three public hearings to discuss the adoption of a millage rate that will require an increase in property taxes by 2.61 percent.

Two meetings will be held at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 12 and a third meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 19. All meetings will be held at the Center for Learning and Leadership, 130 Trinity Ave., S.W., Atlanta, GA 30303. Board action may be taken during a special legislative meeting taking place at 7 p.m. on June 19. 

The tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 21.64 mills, an increase of .55 mills. Without this tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than 21.09 mills. The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $100,000 is approximately $6.00 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $300,000, is approximately $66.00.

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