Property Taxes, The Residents, and the City of Johns Creek
Johns Creek City Council has three options under consideration for the 2018 Property Tax Millage Rate. Those three options will:
- Result in a slight increase over 2017 taxes for existing properties (a "Rollback" rate that does not mathematically eliminate the effects of reassessments)
- Result in no change over 2017 taxes for existing properties (but DOES increase total tax revenue for "growth")
- Result in the same amount of property tax revenue compared to 2017
All results are based on total aggregate property taxes as the effects of the Fulton County Board of Assessors' adjustments were not the same for all properties. The document below analyzes our finances and makes the case for a lower tax burden on our residents.
The question at hand is what is a "proper" amount of property tax revenue from city residents to fund operations? The analysis shows that not only does Johns Creek have three months' of reserves available to fund operations, but we actually have 2.6 times more than that available in our accounts. That means the city has collected and holds $34MM of reserves above and beyond what would be considered a prudent buffer. That is tax revenue that could be better utilized by our residents instead of sitting unproductively in city accounts.
An important point of interest is that the average cost per resident in Johns Creek has increased by nearly 9% year-over-year. We have not realized any economies of scale since expenses are growing faster than population. Despite that, and as mentioned above, city cash balances continue to grow year-over-year.
Another important revelation of this analysis is the extent to which residential property taxes have been used to subsidize services to commercial properties, and the fact that small businesses pay a substantially greater tax burden than larger businesses in our community.
Where will our elected representatives stand on this vote? We advise our residents to pay close attention to the extent to which our representatives will stand on the side of financial prudence.