• Proposed 2017 Johns Creek City Budget

    By Staff
    August 7, 2016
    No Comments

    budget_watch2017 Johns Creek City Budget. It is that time of the year for the city to lay out its plans and budget for the coming year, and for voters to determine whether their money will be allocated and used effectively on competing community priorities.  The 2017 proposed budget is available for review via the following link.

    The budget proposes to maintain the city property tax rate at 4.614 mills, so as to raise $55,957,146, and spend $60,957,146. Five million dollars of savings will be used to make up the difference between revenues and expenditures to accelerate neighborhood street paving and park development.

    The city budget for 2017 essentially shows an overall increase of 1.8% in spending with additional growth funded by improving the accuracy of and removing the conservatism in, the revenue and expenditure estimates. Historically, the city has underestimated revenues and overestimated expenditures by about 5-6% each.

    Although not explicitly stated in the budget, the proposed allocation of city expenditures to community interests appears to be as follows:
    45% -   Public Safety - $27.3 million
    27% -  Transportation - $16.5 million
    15% -  Government Efficiency - $9.2 million
    6.5% - Economic Development -3.9 million
    6% -    Recreation and Parks - $3.6 million
    0.5% - Preserve the character and enhance the sense of community - $0.3 million
    The proposed budget does not include two items that will be on the November ballot regarding an increase in the sales tax from 7% to 7.5% to fund additional road improvements, and a $40 million borrowing to accelerate park and recreation improvements.
    Currently, we pay a 7% sales tax, of which 4% goes to the State, and 3% goes to Fulton County.  The 3% collected by the county is, in turn, distributed 1% to the school system, 1% to MARTA, and 1% to the municipal government (Johns Creek).  The county is proposing to raise the total countywide sales tax, except for Atlanta, from 3% to 3.75% so as to collect $16.5 million dollars in additional annual revenues to be spent by Johns Creek on road improvements.  For understanding purposes, this sales tax increase is equivalent to an 83% increase in the current city property tax millage rate.
    The city will also be asking Johns Creek voters on the November ballot to approve borrowing $40 million to be paid back over 30 years at no more than 6% interest to accelerate development of park facilities.  The city will be committed to paying back $2,764,000 per year for 30 years, or $85.7 million total including interest, to accelerate this $40 million of development.  I estimate the annual property tax millage rate required to pay off the parks bond at 0.639 mills to last for 30 years.  This a 14% increase in city property taxes.
    The associated, continuing, maintenance and operating costs for the road and park improvements have not been presented to the community.  It would be reasonable to estimate that the parks improvements will require an additional 10-15% property tax increase for programming and maintenance costs and that the transportation improvements will require another 10% property tax increase for maintenance and operating costs.
    Parks and transportation improvements are of interest and benefit to all of us, however, we should be aware in casting our vote come November that the associated cost of what we are being asked to approve is equivalent to approximately a 120% increase in the city property tax we currently pay.  Please take the time to study the city’s plans and budget.  In November you will have the opportunity to provide feedback to our government.
    Nancy Reinecke


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