Commissioners to Vote on Tax Increase
Tuesday night is the third and last public hearing on a millage rate increase before commissioners vote on the issue.
Cobb commissioners are eying a possible deficit of nearly $33 million for fiscal 2012, which starts Oct. 1. Due to declining property values, the board faced a deficit in 2011 as well. All departments were asked to cut 10 percent across the board, and take furlough days.
During the first two hearings on the tax increase—both on July 19—speakers were closely divided on whether to raise the rate from a total of 9.6 mills to 11.21 mills for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.
That change would add an average of $111.66 to a residents county tax bill for homes worth $190,000 to $210,000. People on both sides said Cobb's quality of life is at stake.
We'll be covering the hearing and vote live.
Most of the dozens of speakers at the second hearing took one of two directions:
- The county can't afford to cut any more services without ruining the quality of life here and driving people away.
- The county can't afford to raise taxes without ruining the quality of life here and driving people away.
Heavy in attendance were families involved in the Special Olympics program, who generally supported a millage rate increase to protect the programs that are vital to them.
On the other side, many speakers warned that in these tough economic times, even an increased expense of $10 a month could push people over the economic edge and cost them their homes.
It was a hearing packed with emotional moments, such as Special Olympian Candice Fitzgerald, who warned the commissioners that she'll be 18 and voting next year, and Cobb Taxpayers Association head Lance Lamberton, who talked about his humbling, near-minimum-wage circumstances and his inability to afford any tax increase.