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Resident asks Flowery Branch council to explore budget cuts
Proposed millage rate would result in higher taxes for some
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JEFF GILL | The Times Flowery Branch resident Ed Asbridge speaks to the Flowery Branch City Council Thursday night about the proposed tax rate in next year’s city budget.

After another small showing at a Thursday night public hearing, Flowery Branch City Council is now poised to cast a final vote on next fiscal year’s tax rate.

The proposed rate of 3.264 mills would keep taxes the same for all residents except those who had higher reassessments this year.

City resident Ed Asbridge implored the council to dig deeper into the budget to see if it could make further cuts and ease what will be a tax hike for some residents.

“Do you really need all that money?” he asked. “It’s just putting a burden on ... taxpayers. And quit blaming the (tax) assessor, OK?”

The city is proposing keeping the tax rate at the same 3.264 mills it was last year. However, because of rising property values, the city stands to gain more tax revenues. To keep revenues the same, the rate would have to be 3.012 mills.

One mill is equal to $1 for each $1,000 of taxable value, with properties in Flowery Branch assessed at 40 percent of their value.

The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $175,000 is $17.64, city officials have said.

The rise in the city’s property tax digest — or list of taxable properties — is mainly due to the sale of TreePark Apartment Homes at a higher value, Finance Director Tammy Moon said Thursday night.

Of the overall increase in the tax digest, about 46 percent of it is attributable to the increase in value of TreePark, she said.

TreePark is off Thurmon Tanner Parkway between Phil Niekro Boulevard and Cantrell Road.

After hearing from three residents who spoke at two public hearings on June 1, the City Council voted to set the tax rate at 3.264.

Mayor Mike Miller said at that meeting that he is concerned successful tax assessment appeals could mean even less revenue for the city. “We could vote to keep (the tax rate) at 3.264 and receive significantly less money,” he said.

Final approval of the tax rate and 2017-18 budget, which takes effect July 1, is set for June 15.

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