The Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Mayor’s Recommended Budget for July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 for the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government (ACCGov) has been submitted to the Commission for review. This budget is balanced and includes a General Fund Operating and Capital Budget that totals $140.1 million for FY21, which is $52,000 below the FY20 level.
The FY21 Mayor’s Recommended Budget proposes a millage rate of 13.825 for property tax year 2020, which is a millage reduction of 0.125 from FY20. Each mill of this rate produces $1 of taxes for every $1,000 of assessed property value as determined by the Tax Assessor’s Office.
Before the Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission finalizes the FY21 Budget and sets the 2020 millage rate, Georgia law requires three public hearings to allow the public an opportunity to express their opinions on the budget.
Additional specific information on the budget, including the full FY21 Mayor’s Recommended Budget, is available at www.accgov.com/budget.
As the Tax Assessor’s Office updates the estimated market value of taxable property - called the tax digest - Georgia law requires local governments to calculate a "rollback" millage rate. The FY21 rollback millage rate is calculated as the millage rate needed to produce the same total revenue on the 2020 tax digest that the FY20 millage rate would have produced had no reassessments or inflationary increases occurred to property such as land, buildings, and improvements.
The recommended 13.825 millage rate for 2020 would increase estimated property tax revenues by 4.62% over the rollback millage rate. This increase in revenue over the rollback millage rate is due to inflationary growth or reassessment growth in the market value of existing real property.
This does not mean all property owners will see a 4.62% increase in their property taxes. Individual taxes are based on the current assessed value of real property that may remain the same, increase, or decrease depending on the market value of each parcel of property.
Without this tentative property tax revenue increase, the FY21 millage rate would be no more than 13.215 mills. The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $225,000 is approximately $48.80 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $250,000 is approximately $61.00.
Based on the recommended millage rate of 13.825, a homeowner of an average-priced home will continue to pay similar or lower property taxes than many neighboring and similar-sized communities in Georgia. A report comparing tax mills, taxes, and exemptions for Athens-Clarke County and both local and comparably-sized communities is available on the website at www.accgov.com/budget.
The Athens-Clarke County Commission is scheduled to adopt the FY21 Budget at a Special Called Meeting on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.
Before the Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission finalizes the FY21 Budget and sets the 2020 millage rate, Georgia law requires three public hearings to allow the public an opportunity to express their opinions on the increase. In addition to these three required public hearings, the Athens-Clarke County Commission is scheduled to review the FY21 Mayor’s Recommended Budget at a series of meetings.
Public comment on the FY21 Budget will be accepted online through www.accgov.com/agendas. Public comment for the three Taxpayer Bill of Rights public hearings will also be accepted at City Hall through a virtual public comment setup in the Commission Chamber with measures in place, even if the meeting itself is remote.
These budget-related meetings will take place:
- Thursday, May 21 - 5:30 p.m. - Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights public hearing #1 (City Hall, Commission Chamber at 301 College Avenue) followed by Mayor & Commission budget review (held remotely)
- Thursday, May 28 - 5:30 p.m. - Mayor & Commission budget review (held remotely) - no public comment
- Tuesday, June 2 – 6:00 p.m. – Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights Public Hearing #2 and FY21 Budget public hearing Meeting (City Hall, Commission Chamber at 301 College Avenue) followed by the Mayor & Commission Regular Voting (held remotely)
- Wednesday, June 3 - 5:30 p.m. - Mayor & Commission budget review (held remotely) - no public comment
- Thursday, June 11 (if needed) – 5:30 p.m. Mayor & Commission budget review (held remotely) - no public comment
- Tuesday, June 16 – 6:00 p.m. – Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights public hearing #3 followed by the Mayor & Commission Special Called Meeting (City Hall, Commission Chamber at 301 College Avenue) to adopt FY21 Budget and 2020 millage rate (held remotely)
Due to continued uncertainty over coronavirus COVID-19, the Mayor and Commission is currently scheduled to meet remotely for these meetings, although the location is subject to change. However, public comment will be available at the physical locations for some of the meetings due to legal requirements even if virtual meetings are conducted. Visit www.accgov.com/clerkofcommission or call 706-613-3031 for more information.
The FY21 Mayor’s Recommended Budget can be reviewed on Athens-Clarke County’s Web site at www.accgov.com/budget. A budget summary section is available as part of the overall budget document.
Once buildings have re-opened for public visitation, copies of the FY21 Mayor’s Recommended Budget will also available for public inspection during normal office hours at the following locations:
- the Clerk of Commission’s Office in City Hall, 301 College Avenue, in Suite 204; and
- the Manager’s Office in City Hall, 301 College Avenue, in Suite 303.