The Gainesville City Council voted Tuesday to approve the city’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year, with one councilmember opposing the 0.5-mill increase in the property tax rate.
Councilman George Wangemann, who represents Southwest Gainesville, voted in opposition to the budget and the general government ad valorem tax rate. The council unanimously approved tax rates for parks and recreation, fire services and the Gainesville Board of Education.
Councilman Sam Couvillon was absent Tuesday evening, but Mayor Danny Dunagan voted in favor of the budget and general tax rate because four votes are required to pass a motion.
Wangemann said the millage rate increase, which will result in a $100 tax increase for someone with a $200,000 home, is a burden to the city’s taxpayers.
“At some point, you have to be more sensitive to the city taxpayer,” he said. “This is probably the right time and place to do that.”
Wangemann said he had spoken with some city residents who feared they would have to move out of the city due to increasing property values and taxes.
“My question becomes, how much more can the taxpayer take?” he said. “They’re the ones paying the bill…we have to learn to manage what resources we can in as efficient a way as we possibly can.”
The council voted to adopt a rate of 3.364 mills. One mill equals $1 for $1,000 in value. The property tax increase is estimated to generate an additional $2.3 million in revenue, which will mainly be used to fund the design of transportation projects such as the Dawsonville Highway connector, the Highlands to Islands Trail, roundabouts on Green Street and Park Hill Drive improvements. The city also plans to invest in more competitive salaries for public safety employees.
The city’s new fiscal year begins July 1.