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Porterdale mulling millage rate rollback

PORTERDALE, Ga. – Citing rising home values and a growing tax digest, the City of Porterdale is planning to roll back its millage rate this year.

City Clerk Megan Reid told city council members about the increase in the city’s FY 2019 tax digest Monday night.

“I received the rollback today and our property values have increased about 26-27 percent,” she said. “The rollback rate they’re suggesting is four mills less than last year.”

City Manager Bob Thomson explained the rollback rate for The Covington News.

“The rollback is the rate to which you reduce the millage so that you’ll get roughly the same amount of revenue as you did the year prior,” he said.

Thomson said the Porterdale millage could go from 17.314 to 13.8.

“This is probable because the budget committee hasn’t met,” he said. "The thinking is it’ll go down close to four mills.”

Mayor Arline Chapman told The News Porterdale works to keep taxes down for all of its citizens.

“We’ve always done a rollback when the county was pushing a greater tax burden on the people,” she said. “We’re very conscious of the diversification we have here.  We have people coming in and spending significant amounts of money. We have people that have been here and get along fine and are taking pride in their homes and fixing them up.

“And we have people here who are renting houses. The problem there now is with the value going up the landlords are jacking up the rent. So we have to be confident of the diversification that we have here.”

Chapman said she doesn’t want to see gentrification force anybody out of her city.

“We don’t want to see gentrification kick people to the curb,” she said,” There’s got to be a balance that can be struck.

“The old people that are living in a home,  that they may be worked in the mill and they’re still living in the home, they’re going to be hit hard by these taxes. We have always taken that stand, that if we can roll it back a little bit, give them a little relief, then the people know, at least in Porterdale,  that their government cares about them.”

“It’s a practice,” Thomson said. “Rolling back so you don’t get a windfall from your taxes.”

Thomson said this year’s 26 percent digest increase follows last year’s increase of over seven percent.

“So if you add that, that’s a 33 percent increase over 24-36 months,” he said. “I think that’s really rare.”

The city council’s budget committee is scheduled to meet Thursday, July 12 at 3 p.m. at city hall to discuss Porterdale’s FY 2019 budget.