Tax rate increase expected at F'ville Council

The Fayetteville City Council on Thursday is expected to adopt an increased general fund millage rate totaling 3.115 mills. The rollup rate represents less than a tenth of a mill increase due to a small decrease in the 2013 tax digest. If approved, the total value of net taxes levied will be $2.732 million, equal to the amount levied each year since 2010.

Finance Director Lynn Robinson in a July 25 letter said staff is recommending a general fund millage rate of 3.115 mills and a capital projects fund rate of .811 mills. The rollup rate to offset the slightly falling value of the tax digest would have totaled 3.949 mills rather than the 3.926 rate being recommended, she said.

The vote will represent a rollup of most, but not all, of the 1.1 percent decrease in the 2013 tax digest. The value of real property within the city decreased 1.71 percent compared to a year ago while the other changes in the tax digest resulted in a .59 percent increase over 2012.

If approved by council members, the value of a mill will total $695,948 and total taxes levied will generate $2.732 million.

The general fund millage rate was 3.078 mills in 2012 and 2.691 mills in 2011. Despite in slight increases in the millage rate, the net taxes levied have remained constant at $2.732 million since 2010 due to the rollups.

It was during the past few years, during the Great Recession, that property values in Fayetteville and across Fayette County began to fall dramatically. In all, Fayetteville through the recession and during the slow recovery has lost more than 26 percent of the value of property in the city.

The highest values came in 2008 when real and personal property were valued at $886.2 million. That was followed in 2009 with a total of $876.5 million. But it was in 2010 when the price drop in the assessed values in real estate began to be evident. Personal and real property totals decreased to $802.64 million in 2010 and dropped even further to $755 million in 2011. The decrease was even more precipitous in 2012, falling to $662 million. And continuing the fall, the value of real and personal property declined slightly this year to $652.9 million.

The continuing drop in values, and subsequently in revenues collected, is linked to a number of cost-cutting measures undertaken by the council in recent years. Those cost-cutting measures continue today. Since the recession began more than 30 percent of city job positions have been eliminated and a number of key administrative positions are currently filled on a part-time basis.

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