Porterdale to meet on millage rate

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

PORTERDALE -- The city will hold a meeting at 6:30 p.m. July 28 for the purpose of setting its 2011 millage rate.

According to City Clerk Judy Johnson, the city will hold three public hearings in accordance with state law prior to finalizing the millage rate. Those meetings are scheduled for Tuesday, July 19, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, July 23, 11 a.m.; and Thursday, July 28, 6:30 p.m. All public hearings will be held at City Hall.

The City Council voted June 28 to increase the property tax millage by 2 mills to 19.892 mills. The increase represents a 7.6 percent increase in tax revenues, or $22,728. The council approved the first and second readings of an ordinance setting the millage rate at its regular meeting Monday night. The third reading will be held on July 28 at the time of the final public hearing.

According to a five-year history of Porterdale's millage rate prepared by the city, Porterdale's net millage rate for maintenance and operations increased from 8.899 mills in 2006 to 17.518 in 2010. The amount of taxes generated by those millage rates was $241,175 in 2006 and $299,134 in 2010. The 2011 millage rate is expected to generate $321,862 in tax revenues.

The city's financial woes are due in part to a tax digest that is shrinking as property values decline. The 2011 tax digest is down 19 percent, and the 2010 digest decreased 27 percent. A five-year history and 2011 estimate of the Porterdale tax digest showed that the net maintenance and operation digest had decreased from $23.8 million in 2005 to $17 million in 2010. The projected digest for 2011 is $16.1 million.

The town's $10,000 homestead exemption approved last year also has contributed to a decrease in the amount of tax revenues to be collected by the city. According to Newton County Tax Assessor Tommy Knight, who spoke to the City Council recently about property values, some properties in Porterdale have such a low assessed value that with the $10,000 exemption, property owners would pay no taxes.

In addition, other revenues, such as local option sales taxes and fines and forfeitures also are down. LOST revenue is down $50,000 from 2007 collections, and fines and forfeitures are 40 percent less than budgeted for 2011.