The more you know

Determine Property Tax Rate

Your property tax bill is based off the Cobb County Tax Assessor’s “appraised value” for the current year.  Then they calculate 40% of that value as the “assessed value,” so is a house is appraised at $200,000 and the assessed value is $200,000 times 0.4 for an “assessed value” of $80,000.  This is the amount that all millage rates are multiplied against.

If you have Homestead Exemption, that value should be shown in the area where the calculations are listed and that amount is deducted from the “assessed value” only for the County General and Powder Springs amounts.  There are different Millage Rates for Cobb County General Fund, County Bond Fund, County Fire, School General, School Bond and Powder Springs.

If you are 62 or older you are exempt from the School General and Bond Tax, but you must fill out paperwork at City Hall.

 
How is the current millage rate determined?

Millage Rate is the multiplier that is used against a property’s “assessed value” to determine their property tax for that portion of the property tax bill.  See “Determine Property Tax Rate” for more information.

In the summer of 2018, while the city still owned the City Water Department, their annual budget was about $18M. 

The finance director at the time developed a budget that did not raise the millage rate but the City Manager refused to accept it.  Even though two City Council members asked for a budget that did not include the increased millage, they were out-voted.  The finance director was told to only submit a budget with the higher millage rate of 9.5%. 

The budget was prepared and worked until it had a shortfall of $348K, less than 2% of the $18M overall budget.  Using that as their reason, Council Members Doris Dawkins, Henry Lust, and Patrick Boderlan voted to increase the millage rate.  Council Members Nancy Farmer and Patricia Wisdom voted against the increase.  Ms. Wisdom stated as part of her reason the lack of being shown a budget that did not include the increase and the lack of Monthly Financial Reports (Bring back monthly financial statements) for more information.  Then during the year, the City Manager found nearly $1M excess money.  So the bottom line here is, they raised it for a $348K shortfall and had over $950K of unaccounted for money.

Georgia O. C. G. A. 48-5-32.1 requires an automatic rollback of millage rage when the Digest Value increases caused by reassessments.  Meaning, the city took in more money from property taxes than they forecasted due to property value increases.  This law would have rolled back the Powder Springs millage rage to about 8.95% but the same three council members voted to “increase” the rate to the existing 9.5.  Once again, Ms. Farmer and Ms. Wisdom voted against it and offered a compromise of 9% but were outvoted.

 
Bring back monthly financial statements

For many years, until the departure of a Finance Director in the spring of 2018, the Finance Director provided each Council Member with a monthly financial report which allowed the council to see what money had come in and been spent based on the budget.

I sit on boards for three different non-profit boards.  Whether the board meets monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually, we rely on that finance report at each meeting so we can see if we are ahead or behind.  We still do not have Finance Director and the council is not given adequate information when they are voting on spending money.

See the Property Tax Guide for more information.