Cobb County Debates Property Tax Increase

In this Jan. 14, 2017, photo, tax forms sit on a desk at the start of the tax season rush, inside the offices of tax preparation firm Infinite Tax Solutions, in Boulder, Colo. Filing taxes early could speed your return and protect your identity. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Credit Brennan Linsley / Associated Press
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Cobb County’s Board of Commissioners will decide later this month whether or not to increase property taxes in the county by 10 percent.

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Commissioners held two public meetings to discuss the tax increase this week. A third will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25.

At a meeting Monday night, close to 100 people showed up to protest the tax hike, including Debbie Fisher from East Cobb.

“Most of them ran on being fiscal conservative, I think they ought to stick with that and be fiscally conservative,” Fisher said.

Bill Volckmann, director of Cobb County’s Office of Finance and Economic Development, said a property tax increase of 10 percent sounds like a lot, but that’s only 10 percent of a portion of the total property taxes. That doesn’t include taxes that go toward schools.

Volckmann said the property tax increase would go toward the county’s general fund, which pays government employee’s salaries and goes toward the public safety department.

“There always is going to come a point where you have to fund the basic operations and that’s what we’re doing here,” Volckmann said. “We’re not adding a bunch of additional services, we’re not adding a bunch of additional staff members.”

Volckmann said, with the amount the average Cobb County citizen pays in property taxes, this tax increase would equal about $63 more than what a taxpayer pays now.

The property tax increase would also go toward the county’s park bond. Back in 2008, Cobb County collected $40 million for a park bond that would build more public parks in the county. But the county waited until earlier this year, in January, to issue that bond.

Over the past nine years, that bond depreciated in value and is now worth half of what it originally was worth.

Mike Boyce, who chairs the commission, said this tax increase would attempt to bring some of that money back to the parks bond.

“The parks bond was passed in 2008, by a referendum, it was the voice of the people — 70 percent voted for it. So, I felt like it was an unfulfilled commitment,” Boyce said. “And during my campaign, I made a commitment to fulfill that, but there’s a cost that comes with that.”

The board will make its final decision on the tax increase after the third and final meeting on July 25.