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Porterdale OKs $10K referendum

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

PORTERDALE -- Porterdale posted the earliest election results in Newton County on Tuesday evening, reporting shortly after 7:30 p.m. that city residents approved a $10,000 homestead exemption referendum.

The referendum passed 115 to 5, with 15 percent of Porterdale's 775 active voters casting ballots. Balloting in the special referendum was held in conjunction with the general election, in which voting took place just up the street at the Porterdale Baptist Church.

The Porterdale City Council agreed in January to ask the General Assembly to approve local legislation authorizing the city to call for the referendum. The House and Senate approved the local legislation, and the measure was signed by Gov. Perdue on June 2.

The homestead exemption from ad valorem taxes is designed to offset a 4-mill increase in the property tax rate approved by the City Council in July. Based on the city's current 17.518 millage rate, the homestead exemption would reduce city property taxes on an owner-occupied home by $175 per year. The city's millage increase meant a tax increase of approximately $40 to $60 per year for an average Porterdale residential property.

The majority of Porterdale's residences are rental property.