Porterdale approves millage rate increase

PORTERDALE -- The City Council approved a millage rate of 17.518 mills at a called meeting Tuesday night. The new rate encompasses the rollback rate of 13.518 mills plus an additional 4 mills.

City officials said the rate increase was needed to close a revenue gap of $110,000 and compensate for decreased property values.

The vote was 3-1, with Councilwoman Linda Finger opposed and Councilman Lowell Chambers absent.

At 17.518 mills, the tax impact for an average Porterdale residential property would be approximately $41 to $75 per year, according to city officials.

In addition, the council approved an amended budget totaling $1,055,725 in revenues and $1,049,207 in expenditures.

Amendments to the budget include anticipated property tax collections of $299,134, as opposed to the previously budgeted $344,000, and a $10,000 increase in local option sales tax collections.

Comprehensive plan now under way

After stalling for several months, work on the city's Comprehensive Land Use Plan is under way under the direction of a new consultant -- the Fanning Institute at the University of Georgia.

Langford Holbrook, Public Service associate at the institute, met with the council Tuesday night and outlined the procedure for completing the plan and the scope of work.

"My goal is to help the community figure out where you need to be and how you want to get there," Holbrook said.

Porterdale's Comprehensive Plan is more than two years overdue. Failure to adopt a plan by the required date, which was February 2008, results in disqualification for state-managed financial assistance, according to Jon West, regional planner for the DCA.

Holbrook told the council he hopes to have a plan completed and ready to submit to the DCA by mid-November.

Porterdale previously had another consultant working on the plan; however, the consultant did not fulfill the contract.

The comprehensive plan is designed to address a 20-year window and covers a wide range of topics such as land use, economic development, transportation, public safety and stormwater management. Plans are required to be updated a minimum of every 10 years, with some components updated more frequently.