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Flowery Branch narrowly OKs tax rate for 2018-19
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The Flowery Branch tax rate will remain the same in the 2018-19 budget year, which takes effect Sunday, July 1.

Even though the Flowery Branch City Council voted 3-2 on Thursday, June 28, to keep the rate at 3.264 mills, some residents will see higher tax bills because of rising property values.

In passing the tax rate, the council rejected rolling it back to 3.078 mills, which would have kept the amount of revenues the same.

One mill is equal to $1 for each $1,000 in assessed property value.

Councilmen Joe Anglin and Chris Mundy voted against the tax rate.

“I believe it should be rolled back to provide for tax relief for those people whose property has been assessed upwards,” Anglin said.

Voting for the tax rate were Councilwomen Amy Farah and Mary Jones.

Mayor Mike Miller, who voted for the tax rate in breaking the tie, cited several needs the city will have to address. He referred specifically to traffic at Interstate 985’s Exit 12.

With the Georgia Department of Transportation widening Spout Springs Road under the interstate as part of I-985’s widening, Flowery Branch would be responsible for improvements outside the diamond interchange — costs that could be $3 million.

“One of the things I keep hearing from residents is they don’t want the traffic congestion, and we’ve got a nuclear bomb right there at Exit 12,” Miller said.

Residents could see some relief on Hall County taxes, however, as a result of a service delivery agreement last year between the county and Hall’s cities.

Overall, the city is expecting a $217,844 increase in revenue in the next fiscal year, with $74,891 coming from property reassessments and $142,953 from growth, the city’s finance director, Alisha Gamble, has said.

The additional revenue is expected to help in five areas: construction of a new “pocket park,” or small public park, on the southwest corner of the Lights Ferry Road roundabout; contracted services for help with building and erosion inspections; salary and benefits for a new police officer position; new police vehicle; and a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment and possible 3 percent merit increases for city staff.