Latest Budget News
Commissioners lower millage rate
The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners on July 17 adopted 2018 millage rates to fund county services by rolling back the general fund rate by 2.58 percent.
Chief Financial Officer Maria Woods reported that the value of taxable property in Gwinnett grew by about $1.6 billion, or 5.6 percent, since 2017.
“Such growth in the digest allows the County to roll back the millage rate and still fund essential services in our budget,” said Woods. “We are fortunate that our digest has recovered.”
The Gwinnett County Tax Assessor calculates the total value of all property in the county, called the tax digest, by conducting annual property updates of residential and commercial property and issuing assessment notices to the owners in accordance with state law.
District 2 Commissioner Lynette Howard said that people will continue to see the same high level of service and performance from Gwinnett County.
“It’s always good to be able to roll back the millage rate,” said District 2 Commissioner Lynette Howard. “Unlike many places where tax cuts result in cuts in popular services, we’re able to lower people’s taxes and still improve services for our residents and businesses. We’re committed to low taxes and great service.”
District 4 Commissioner John Heard said the growth in the tax digest reflects well on the county’s business environment, which benefits everyone.
“I believe Gwinnett County is in the best place fiscally that’s it’s been in more than 30 years,” Heard said. “I’m very encouraged by the robust growth in the tax digest, which makes the load a little lighter for everyone.
“At the County, we’re dedicated to fostering a pro-business environment and here’s one way it’s paying off. New companies recognize that Gwinnett is a great place to do business, existing businesses are continuing to prosper, and fortunately, the overall economy remains strong.”
The annual millage rate and individual annual property assessments determine each property owner’s property tax for County operations. Property tax bills also include school taxes, which are usually the larger portion of the total. For properties within certain cities, the tax bill may also include city taxes.
State law requires counties to publish a rollback millage rate for the general fund, which is a rate that would produce the same total revenue as the previous year’s millage rate had no reassessments occurred. A mill is one dollar of tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value.
The 2018 total property tax millage rate for the County is 13.319, as compared to 13.51 for 2017. The millage rates for special service districts created in 2013 and countywide levies for recreation remain unchanged from last year. Millage rates for service districts in Gwinnett are based on property location and county services provided, such as police, fire, and emergency medical. Details can be found here.
Property owners can also visit the website to see the value they receive in county services plus an estimate of applicable county, schools and city taxes billed by the tax commissioner. A pie chart shows how the County allocates its portion. Click here to visit the Where Your Property Taxes Go tool.
Tuesday’s action also paved the way for the Tax Commissioner’s Office to mail all property tax bills by August 15. Payments will be due October 15. Property owners or mortgage lenders can make payments by mail, online, by phone, at the main tax office in person or by using one of the special drop boxes located at tax and tag offices.
Click here to view Gwinnett County Government millage rates by property location.
Commissioners adopt 2018 budget focused on safety, quality of life
The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners adopted a $1.67 billion budget for 2018 at their regular meeting on Tuesday January 2, 2018. The final budget is up about seven percent over last year, primarily due to transfers for capital improvements and increased costs for salaries and benefits. The operating budget is set at $1.28 billion with another $390 million for capital improvements, including projects funded by SPLOST.
“We will maintain core county services such as the jail, courts, police and fire protection, roads, transit and water, while adding a few new initiatives that reflect priorities the Board set last spring,” Nash said. “It continues our tradition of conservative budgeting based on multi-year planning, maintains adequate reserves, uses pay-as-you-go financing for capital improvements and also sets aside money for future obligations.”
The County plans to add another traffic engineer, design two new Park & Ride Lots on State Route 316, improve roadside maintenance, and add WiFi on buses. It will add staff to manage cultural and natural resources and the new Lilburn Activity Building, and provide some funding to help address homelessness. The budget also includes funding to expand the civic center, build a small business resource center, and add more planning and development staff.
Nash also pointed to several new public relations positions, an animal welfare program focused on community education, funding for the Gwinnett Bicentennial celebration, a global water innovation center and pay-for-performance pay increases.
Funds to pay for more advance voting days are in the budget but will be held in reserve until it is determined that a sufficient number of trained poll workers are available to adequately staff those additional operations. The Elections Office will get four new employees to meet new federal requirements.
In the public safety area, the budget provides 65 more police officers, two new 24/7 ambulance crews and a new ladder truck crew, construction of a new Bay Creek Police Precinct and alternate E- 911 center, two new positions in the District Attorney’s Office, and a dozen part-time Sheriff’s deputies.
Nash noted that Gwinnett’s population has grown by 20 percent since 2008 while County staff has increased only five percent. Many of the new positions restore jobs that were cut during the recession. The value of assessed property is back up to its 2008 level at $29.4 billion after hitting a low in 2013. Property tax revenue funds less than half of the operating budget. The budget assumes the current 13.51 millage rate will not change.
Seven resident volunteers served on the budget review committee. They listened to budget requests from department directors and elected officials, studied business plans, budget needs and revenue projections, and made recommendations to Nash for the 2018 budget.
The 2018 budget and supporting documents and videos are available online at www.gwinnettcounty.com.