ALPHARETTA, Ga. — While the tax rate on property remains unchanged over the past decade, the City of Alpharetta has published notice of a 3% hike in taxes.
The move comes as a result of higher assessments — or values — placed on property. If a house or commercial building increased in value over the past year, the owner will pay more in taxes despite the steady tax rate.
The City Council uses revenues from commercial and residential property taxes to help fund its operations and to pay down debt accrued from bonds approved by voters for major projects, like parks and transportation.
Property tax rates are expressed in “mills.” Each mill brings in $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value on a property.
Under Georgia law, when the county establishes an updated total value for property in Alpharetta — its tax digest — the city must calculate a rollback millage rate that would produce the same total revenue that was produced on the current year’s digest had no reassessments occurred.
Because Alpharetta’s property values rose this year, the same mill levy of 5.75 mills will bring in more money, and the city must hold three public hearings to lock down the rate as a “tax increase.” Residents will be given opportunity at each public hearing to comment.
The first public hearing will be at 6:30 p.m. July 26. Subsequent hearings will be at 11:30 a.m. and at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 2. All hearings will be conducted at Alpharetta City Hall, 2 Park Plaza.
Last month, the City Council adopted a budget of $149 million for the 2022 fiscal year which began July 1.
Also at the meeting, city officials set the tax rate on property at 5.75 mills, the same as in the past nine years.
About half the budget — $74.5 million — will go to run the day-to-day operations of the city. Another large share of the budget, about $41 million, will go toward capital improvements to maintain, improve or add to what the city already has. These big-ticket items include resurfacing streets, widening roadways and enhancing parks.
More than $13 million of these capital expenses are aimed at targets on and under the ground — resurfacing streets, upgrading stormwater systems and replacing turf at park fields. These “recurring” expenses also include upgrading traffic signals and replacing vehicles and other equipment.
City officials point out that residents can take advantage of homestead exemptions that lower the taxable value of their homes. In sum, the city’s multiple homestead exemptions are estimated to save Alpharetta residents $5 million each year on property taxes.
The list of exemptions include:
• Floating Homestead exemption that caps the taxable value growth of homesteaded properties to the lesser of 3% or CPI.
• Basic Homestead exemption of $45,000 off the assessed value of homesteaded properties, which is among the highest in the state.
• Senior Basic Homestead exemption of $25,000 off the assessed value of homesteaded properties for residents aged 65 and older.
• Senior full-value exemption available to residents aged 70 and older who meet certain income requirements.