Stone Mountain City Council sets tentative millage rate, moves forward on park upgrades

City of Stone Mountain Municipal Building. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Stone Mountain, GA — The Stone Mountain City Council at its June 1 meeting set a tentative millage rate and gave the OK to move forward on some overdue repairs to city parks.

The City Council set the tentative millage rate at 20 mills, the same rate as last year. But City Manager ChaQuias Miller-Thornton said she hopes the final adjusted rate will be less. Under Georgia law, a public hearing is required even if the millage rate does not change because the increase in property values mean higher taxes.

“Citizens see an increase as an increase,” she said during the meeting.

Following the meeting, she said that millage rate could be lower as the city gets more information about the tax digest.

“We didn’t want to start at a lower millage rate we couldn’t go back on later,” Miller-Thornton said.

According to her memo attached to the June 1 meeting agenda, “The Revaluation Report submitted by the county on 05/25/2021 represents a 14.75% increase in real property and a 6.95% increase in the personal property digests for 2021. This percentage represents a change in the real property tax digest of $16,749,030, from $113,539,442 in 2020 to $130,288,472 in 2021. $15,281,979 of this change represents the reassessment of existing real property.”

If the city keeps the tentative millage, the increase in revenue is estimated to be $328,337, her memo says.

Before the meeting, residents speaking during public comment were concerned bout the possibility of paying more taxes. One councilmember, Clint Monroe, voted against setting the millage rate at 20 mills.

“I think it should be a lower rate,” he said.

At its May 18 work session, the City Council discussed the need for overdue park improvements after getting requests to use facilities at McCurdy and Medlock Parks.

The council approved soliciting bids to repair those parks and Leila Mason Park.

Leila Mason Park needs about $30,000 worth of bathroom upgrades to be ADA compliant, a memo from Miller-Thornton said. McCurdy Park upgrades could cost between $253,000 and $432,000 and include multiple improvements to the ball fields. Improvements to the Medlock Park concession buildings could cost about $155,000. Council also suspended long-term facilities rentals at these parks but allowed for the possibilities of short-term rentals.

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