Woodstock city

Woodstock City Council members are considering a partial rollback in the property tax rate for its 2020 budget, which may mean a small tax savings for some property owners.

With the partial rollback, the proposed millage rate is 6.57 mills, down from 6.72 mills.

The city council held a first reading Monday and will have a second reading and vote to adopt the budget June 10.

The city projects a 6-percent increase in the net property tax digest, before appeals and exemptions. With more tax money due to higher property values, the city can “roll back” the rate to end up with the same or more revenue. Later this year the tax digest will be finalized and the city council will officially confirm the millage rate in August.

Under the proposed rate, the taxes on a $100,000 home would be estimated at $262.80, $6 less than last year, and on a $500,000 home they would be $1,314.00, down $30, according to the city.

The $44.3 million budget allocates about half, $22.2 million, for the general fund, including police and fire departments, general and court services, parks and recreation and other city departments and administrative costs. A total of $4.3 million is unassigned in the general budget, the same as the current fiscal year.

If the budget is adopted, Woodstock Police Department will get eight new vehicles, six marked and two unmarked. The city will also design a third fire station.

The city’s water and sewer account is appropriated about $12.5 million, and stormwater is about $1.2 million.

In the proposed budget, the city will create three full-time positions: an assistant city manager, a GIS analyst and a project coordinator. There will also be an added part-time bailiff and a part-time wastewater treatment plant operator.

The city reported that there is money left over from the previous Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or SPLOST IV. A total of $313,000 from those taxes will be used this year for the city’s parking deck, partially paying for a downtown playground and restrooms project, a kayak launch and water well exploration.

The current SPLOST V, has $5 million budgeted for fiscal year 2020 for public works projects including intersection improvements at Dobbs Road, neighborhood road resurfacing and improvements at Mill Street and Towne Lake Parkway. Other proposals using SPLOST money include an initial payment for a 800 MHz radio system, a Ridge Trail extension project and an extension of Paden Street.

For more information about the budget, view the presentation in the last meeting’s agenda packet at www.woodstockga.gov.

Shannon is a reporter covering education, city governments, crime, features, religion and other local news. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and currently lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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