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16 October 2013

East Point City Council May Violate The Law If They Approve Property Tax Increase

The south Fulton County city of East Point is facing a massive budget deficit.

CBS Atlanta reports, "The city of East Point is in the red and is looking to an increase in their millage rate to cover a $4 million deficit" [Paluska, Mike (14 October 2013). East Point mayor: Raise taxes or city will shut down. WGCL-TV (Atlanta). Retrieved on 16 October 2013.].

East Point Mayor Earnestine Pittman, who is seeking another term in office this November, wants to raise the property tax rate from 15 to 23.

The problem is that the East Point City Charter caps the property tax rate at 15 mills on each dollar of taxable value.

Here is the actual language from the East Point City Charter:

"The city council may assess, levy, and collect an ad valorem tax on all real and personal property within the corporate limits of the city that is subject to such taxation by the state and county. This tax shall not exceed 15 mills on each dollar of taxable value. This tax shall be for the purpose of raising revenues to defray the costs of operating the city government, of providing governmental services, for the repayment of principal and interest on general obligations, and for any other public purpose as determined by the city council in its discretion."

The East Point City Council has scheduled a public hearing on its proposed millage rate increase for Monday, 21 October 2013 at 1526 East Forrest Avenue, East Point, GA 30344. The hearing is scheduled to start at 6:30PM.

If the City of East Point approves a millage rate above the limits set forth in the city's charter, it is highly conceivable that a group of concerned citizens will challenge the tax increase in court.