A Collection of Topics of Interest
We’re about to enter the Back-to-School season with Fulton County Schools set to begin the 2019-2020 year on August 12, 2019. Accompanying that start of activity is a full agenda of items of which you will want to be aware.
2019 Property Tax Millage Rate
Property owners should have received notices of their 2019 Property Tax Assessments. Those notices include an estimate of the taxes due to Fulton County as well as the Johns Creek. The Johns Creek portion includes components for general operations as well as for bonds issued to fund city park development. The millage rate in tax year 2018 (the rate multiplied by the net taxable value of your property as determined by the Fulton County Assessors Office) was .003842 for Johns Creek general operations, and .000500 to pay for bonds.
Assessments generally increased for Tax Year 2018 - in many cases, quite aggressively. Johns Creek millage rates decreased in an effort to mitigate the resulting tax burden, yet overall taxes still increased. In order to provide a sense of stability going forward, Johns Creek’s City Council issued an Ordinance on August 13, 2018 that committed the city to the principles of predictability and financial thrift. That Ordinance is available here. A key Section of that Ordinance states:
Section 6: If the homestead exemption described in the above recitals is approved in a referendum on November 6, 2018, the Mayor and the City Council, in an effort to give clarity, establish predictability and commit to financial thrift, intends to adopt a millage rate for tax year 2019 which shall result in revenue in an amount equal to nor more than that received for tax year 2018.
Despite that commitment in an Ordinance approved by a majority of City Council and signed by the Mayor, the net tax receipts planned for tax year 2019 are proposed to increase by $257,988, or 1.4%.
Do our Elected Officials intend to honor their commitment to residents, or will they go back on that commitment and raise taxes?
Yeah…About Those Park Bonds….
Roadway Striping and Accountability
Two Council Members have offered Resolutions meant to address the Design Deviation that was requested by the Public Works Department that seeks to reduce lane width on Medlock Bridge Road from the current 12-feet to 11-feet. Councilor and community concerns have been raised that this change would not improve safety. Indeed, the Wolverton memo used to justify the request anticipates a 3% INCREASE in accidents. A related concern is that the reduction in lane width is consistent with past efforts to add a third lane in each direction on Medlock Bridge Road by narrowing existing lanes and converting the current shoulder into the third lane. Residents have voiced their concerns that the Design Deviation request is really intended as an incremental step to the increased volume that has been roundly opposed by residents.
Councilwoman Stephanie Endres submitted a draft Resolution that states that a consequential decision such as this is a policy decision responsibility of City Council, and not part of the day-to-day responsibilities of Public Works. This Resolution speaks to the proper roles and responsibilities for our Elected Officials and City Staff.
Councilman John Bradberry submitted a draft resolution that seeks to rescind the Design Deviation in order to maintain the current lane width along the Medlock Bridge Road corridor. The Resolution makes the case that City Council was not informed of Public Works’ request, and that the safety basis upon which the request is based is not supported by the study submitted for its consideration.
Both Resolutions will be discussed during the City Council Work Session on August 5, 2019. Given an imminent start to the GDOT resurfacing project on Medlock Bridge Road, the question is whether our City Council can afford to follow the normal procedure of waiting two weeks after the Work Session to take action at the next scheduled City Council Meeting on August 19, 2019 as that may be too late.