School board approves measure for construction projects
By MICHELLE E. SHAW www.ajc.com 06/18/08
Approximately 20 percent of Fulton County residents will pay more in property taxes.
School board members voted Tuesday to approve a less-than-full rollback of the millage rate so the district can take on $27 million worth of capital construction and improvement projects.
The new millage rate for the 2009 fiscal year will be 16.403, a .500 reduction from 2008. To achieve a full rollback the board needed to lower the rate to 15.903.
A full rollback requires the millage rate to be revenue neutral. But when that does not happen, an indirect tax increase can occur when the fair market value of property increases and assessed values rise.
Theresa McDugald, chief financial officer for the district, said approximately 83 percent of Fulton County residents will see a small decrease in their tax bills. She told board members that a homes valued at $250,000 and $500,000 will save $57.90 and $116.80 respectively.
Board member Linda Schultz voted against the partial rollback. She and Ashley Widner, who was unable to attend the meeting, have publicly opposed the tax hike, not the worthiness of the projects that will be paid for with the proceeds.
The projects that would be funded include accelerating the building of a proposed elementary school on Ison Road in Sandy Springs and a new performing arts wing for Tri-Cities High in East Point.
The acceleration of the elementary school will cost approximately $1 million. That means the school would open in August 2009 instead of August 2010.The Tri-Cities project will cost approximately $5 million and does not require a land purchase. The new wing will be built on existing school property.
For weeks, parents of students who attend the performing arts magnet program lobbied the school board for new facilities. Crumbling walls, small rooms and inadequate equipment were among the complaints.
Several parents also said children were suffering hearing losses because the band room was too small and not fit for such musical activities.