Brace Yourselves - Property Taxes are Going Up!
The Fulton County Tax Assessor's office attempted to adjust property assessments upward last year. The results created a backlash from property owners as well as from local municipal representatives. As a result, assessments were kept at the previous year's values.
Fast forward to April 2018, and the Fulton County Board of Assessors is already sending out advance warning that this year's assessments should be expected to increase. You may have received this notification in your mail:
The amount of property tax that owners will pay is a calculation based on two parts:
1) Property Assessment Value, and
2) Millage Rate
If you're unfamiliar with the term "Millage Rate", the definition is the amount per $1,000 of property value that is used to calculate local property taxes. Assigned millage rates are multiplied by the total taxable value of the property to arrive at the property taxes.
In theory, your property's assessed value could INCREASE, but your property tax payment could remain the same, or perhaps be lower. That would be due to the millage rate set by the taxing authority. For residential property owners in Johns Creek, you will pay property taxes to Fulton County and the City of Johns Creek with each jurisdiction setting its own millage rates.
The majority of elected representative in Johns Creek have run on a platform that included a commitment to NOT raise taxes on our resident property owners. Indeed, the upcoming May election includes these very same commitments.
While it may be argued that supporting T-SPLOST or other Local Option Sales Taxes amount to a roundabout method of raising taxes on residents, the commitment to NOT raise property taxes would be particularly difficult to avoid in the face of a certain increase in assessed property values. That leaves just one lever with which our City Council can honor a commitment to NOT raise taxes: reduce the millage rate so that property tax revenue is net-neutral compared to 2017.
Will our elected officials work to keep their word given to voters while campaigning for office, or will the temptation to keep millage rates the same as last year in order to reap a windfall in property tax revenue be too tempting? Under the circumstances, is the recent attention being directed toward a potential Johns Creek Development Authority (where tax abatements would be granted to some businesses) an appropriate topic for consideration (our opinion: NO)? Many commercial properties have already experienced an inexplicable pass on assessment updates with many parcels valued at unbelievably low levels, with many assessments still held at recession level values. As a result, a disproportionate burden of property tax revenue has already been carried by the residents to date.
Property assessments are going up - that's a fact. If Johns Creek millage rates are not decreased to provide for a net-neutral tax burden in 2018, it will be, IN FACT, a tax increase.
Find out where our elected officials stand on this issue. We need to have them on-the-record and hold them to their campaign promises.