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Porterdale eyes going to two tax bills

PORTERDALE -- The City Council will consider an ordinance to change the city's tax billing from one installment to at least two following a presentation by City Clerk Judy Johnson at the Aug. 26 work session.

In the past the City Council has discussed the possibility of having the Newton County Tax Commissioner's Office handle its tax billing for a fee. In that case, Johnson said the city would need to go to two billings in order to be compatible with the county's billing schedule.

Johnson added that the Tax Commissioner's Office had asked that Porterdale delay any move toward contracting with the county for tax billing until after 2011 due to staff cutbacks and the homestead tax exemption referendum that will be held in Porterdale in conjunction with the Nov. 2 general election.

"Two payments would help the citizens, and it would help the city, too," said Councilman Robert Foxworth, referring to the effect two billings would have on the city's cash flow.

Johnson said she will schedule the first and second readings of an ordinance providing for two tax billing installments for city residents.

In other discussion, council members considered the possibility of changing Porterdale's budget cycle from a calendar year to a July-June fiscal year. Newton County and the city of Covington budget based on the fiscal year.

Johnson said if the county took on Porterdale's tax billing, it would be beneficial to be on the same budget cycle. The change would also make it easier for Porterdale to budget expenses and revenues related to intergovernmental agreements with Covington and Newton County, she said.

Mayor Bobby Hamby said the council had explored the possibility of changing to a fiscal year in the past but did not proceed due to the expense of having two audits in the year that the change is made. Hamby said he would favor the change if the city could afford it.