Most Fulton County residents will see lower taxes on the Fulton County General Fund portion of their tax bills this year. The Board of Commissioners voted without opposition to maintain its current millage rate of 10.281 mills for the General Fund. As a result, any homeowner whose property declined in value will see a lower bill, and any property whose value remained constant will stay the same.
Approximately 80% of General Fund revenue comes from property taxes. Fulton County has maintained its current millage rate since 2007 and has not increased its millage rate since 1991. Among the five largest metro Atlanta counties, including Cobb, Gwinnett, DeKalb and Clayton counties, Fulton County’s General Fund millage rate is the lowest, Fulton is the only metro county that has not increased its General Fund millage rate during the current economic downturn.
“The departments and employees of Fulton County Government look forward to implementing the Board’s policy and continuing to provide outstanding services and value to our residents,” said County Manager Zachary L. Williams. “We are proud of our record of financial management and know that residents need our services now more than ever.”
From 2008 to 2012, Fulton County’s real and personal property tax digest declined by 15.3%. During that time, Fulton County’s homestead exemption increased to $30,000, compared to $10,000 for all surrounding counties, making it making it the most generous homestead exemption in the metro region. This has resulted in significant reductions in the Fulton County portion of property tax bills for many homeowners.
Fulton County has responded to economic pressures through a variety of measures. County leadership actively decreased expenditures by 13% from 2007 to 2011. A hiring freeze has been in place since 2008, and the County has decreased its headcount of full-time employees by 23% from 2006 to 2012. Other efficiency steps have included consolidation of departments, streamlining operations, increases in grant funding, refinancing and other measures.
A variety of community indicators have increased reliance on County services. The unemployment rate in Fulton County increased to 10.5% in 2011, from 4.9% in 2007. Poverty rates increased from 14.2% in 2007 to 17.7% in 2010. Fulton County, as the center of the Metro Atlanta area, has been impacted by foreclosure rates which have remained among the highest in the nation.