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Buford property tax rate could drop, but still increase taxes for some
Buford city limits

The tax rate keeps falling in Buford but not low enough to avert a tax increase for some residents.

Since 2013, the rate has steadily dropped from 13 mills, with the Buford Board of Commissioners set to vote on a tax rate of 12.75 mills at its 7 p.m. meeting Monday, Aug. 6, at Buford City Hall, 2300 Buford Highway.

But to keep the city revenue neutral, the rate would have to be 12.436 mills, with 1 mill equal to $1 for each $1,000 of assessed values.

That means some residents — basically those whose property values are rising — would pay more in taxes. Those with flat or declining values would pay the same or less in taxes.

Because the city mostly in Gwinnett but partially in South Hall isn’t proposing a “rollback rate,” it must by state law hold three public hearings. One hearing was held July 16 and the final two are set for 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Aug. 6 at City Hall.

Buford has some 7,200 property owners, with Hall County accounting for about 22 percent of the city’s total tax digest, City Manager Bryan Kerlin has said.

The city stretches into South Hall primarily by Atlanta Highway/Ga. 13 and McEver Road, with a busy commercial area along Lanier Islands Parkway/Ga. 347.

City and school officials, who couldn’t be reached for comment, have said taxes are raised strictly for the school system, which is part of the overall city general fund budget.

The commission sets the school tax rate upon request of the Buford Board of Education.

Otherwise, the city “operates on fees generated by its general and enterprise operations,” Kerlin has said.

Apart from higher values, the city is seeing rapid growth. Last year, it approved 1,000 new subdivision lots with homes selling at an average price of more than $500,000, commission Chairman Phillip Beard has said.

Buford is seeing “tremendous growth in our student population,” said Beard, who is also on the school board. “Our school budget has gone up several million dollars each year the last two or three years.”

Buford Board of Commissioners

What: Approval of 2018-19 tax rate

When: 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 6

Where: Buford City Hall, 2300 Buford Highway