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Porterdale OKs 2 mill tax increase

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

PORTERDALE -- The City Council approved the third and final reading of an ordinance Thursday night that sets the city's property tax millage rate at 19.892 mills, a 2-mill increase over the previous year.

Councilmembers Arline Chapman, Mike Harper and Lowell Chambers voted in favor of the ordinance, with Councilwoman Linda Finger opposed. Councilman Robert Foxworth was absent from the called meeting.

The new millage rate represents a 7.6 percent increase in tax revenue, or $22,728. 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.

Like many cities, Porterdale has seen its property values decrease over the past several years, leading to a decline in assessed values and tax collections. In addition, other revenues, such as local option sales taxes and fines and forfeitures are also down. LOST revenue is down $50,000 from 2007 collections, and fines and forfeitures are 40 percent less than budgeted for 2011.

The council has already initiated some cost-saving measures to get through the end of the year. The city has eliminated two positions -- one in public works and the other in the Police Department, and furloughed all remaining full-time employees two days per month. At City Hall, employees will fulfill the two furlough days by shortening hours on Fridays. City Hall will now be open to the public from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Fridays. Previously, City Hall closed at 4:30 p.m. on Fri days.

In addition, the council has approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Bobby Hamby to sign paperwork for a $150,000 tax anticipation note with BB&T at 2.45 percent interest.

City Manager Bob Thomson said the loan is needed to cover the city's cash flow problem through the end of the year until property tax revenues are received.

By law, the loan must be repaid by Dec. 31.