Mayor: Hard Times Ahead for City
City leaders facing revenue shortfall due to declining tax digest.
Though the City of Dacula has yet to receive next year’s tax digest, Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks is expecting bad news.
“I’m hearing that it’s going to be down an additional 9 percent,” he said. City leaders do not expect to receive the final tax digest numbers until mid- or late June, Wilbanks added.
A fall in the tax digest last year prompted council to increase the millage rate from 4.67 to 5.128 to partially compensate for lost revenue. The increase in the millage rate did not provide any extra revenue for the city. In fact, city leaders expected revenue to be $22,300 less than the previous year. The reality was a bit worse.
“It was a little bit worse than that. Not a whole lot more, but a little bit more,” Wilbanks said.
Citing the fall in the tax digest and the loss in revenue due to the replacement of ad valorem taxes on automobiles with tag fees, Wilbanks said it would be even more challenging to make up the revenue shortfall this year.
“We’re going to be facing some times that are going to be hard for the city and for every city I think,” Wilbanks said.
The council will set the millage rate in July with one or more public hearings held beforehand. The number of hearings will depend on whether or not the proposed millage rate will result in an increase in revenue. If no increase is expected, only one hearing will be held. If the proposed millage rate would result in a revenue increase, the city will hold three public hearings prior to voting on the rate.
In other business at Thursday’s work session, council discussed authorizing the city to issue a bid for street repairs in Freeman Walk Subdivision.
“If we leave it alone and don’t do anything, I’m afraid we are looking at a more expensive reclamation project,” said City Administrator Jim Osborn.
The proposed repairs would include adding two inches of topping to a portion of the roadway.
“I think this will preserve the road for some time,” Osborn added.
The repairs would be funded through SPLOST.
The Dacula City Council will meet in regular session next Thursday, June 7 at 7 p.m. The council meets at Dacula City Hall, 442 Harbins Road in Dacula.