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City plans public hearings on tax hike
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The city of Gainesville is getting ready to hold a number of public hearings on its proposed property tax increase.

The hearings will be held at the Georgia Mountains Center at 6 p.m. Tuesday, 9 a.m. June 10 and 9 a.m. June 22. The city is proposing a 2.5 percent tax increase for city residents. The additional 0.26 mills to the city tax rate will help to close a $1.3 million gap between revenues and expenses for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

“The increase that is being proposed for taxes is $26 per year for every $100,000 dollars of property,” Gainesville Public Information Officer Catiel Felts said.

When the total tax digest is prepared, Georgia law requires that a rollback millage rate be computed if there is a change in assessed property values to keep revenue consistent with the past year’s digest. A decrease in fair market values of properties left Gainesville’s 2010 rollback calculation with a higher millage rate than in 2009 in order to stabilize the government revenue.

Gainesville also needed additional revenue to combat the effects of the recession on the city’s budget and to pay for several new firefighters.

“The tax increase proposed by the city council will be dedicated to public safety and to meet the local match requirements that allowed the city to hire 18 additional firefighters,” Felts said.

Times staff reporter Ashley Fielding contributed to this report.

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