Is a large property tax increase coming to Decatur residents in 2024?
The Decatur City Council will be discussing changes to the amount of property taxes the city receives in 2024 when it meets on Monday, October 16. Three initial options have been proposed by the city staff: a 7% increase (actually lowers the tax rate), 11% increase (keeps tax rate same), and 36% increase (increases tax rate considerably). These proposed tax rates would raise an additional $1.1 million, $1.7 million, and $5.5 million for the city, respectively. The major reason why the city will be collecting more property tax revenue as a whole is because the Equalized Assessed Value of Decatur is projected to grow ~12% from 2022 to 2023, surpassing $1 billion.
What does this mean for homeowners? If the city council decides to keep its tax rate the same (collecting 11% more in property taxes), residents whose property values remained the same would pay the same amount of taxes to the city, while those whose property values changed would pay more or less depending on the direction of change to their property value. It is important to note that the city of Decatur’s portion of the overall property tax bill is ~15%. Thus, upcoming decisions made by other taxing bodies such as Decatur Public Schools, Macon County, and the Decatur Park District will play an important role in determining the extent of changes in your property tax bill next year.
Monday’s city council meeting will be the first of many discussions and no vote will be taken. Regardless of the decision made, the city’s continued population and labor force declines, as well as high poverty and unemployment, will continue to put significant pressure on the city council to raise property taxes and fees for the foreseeable future.
CITY CODE CHANGES REGULATING VIDEO GAMBLING TO BE DISCUSSED
Another topic the Decatur City Council will be discussing (but not voting on at the meeting) are changes to city codes regulating video gambling. For the majority of Decatur residents who want to see a reduction in the number of gambling establishments, the proposed changes are underwhelming. If enacted as written, there is little reason to expect a reduction in the negative societal costs of gambling including addiction, bankruptcy, and crime, and the negative perception of the city will likely continue.
Other agenda items of note include the purchase of a crime prevention surveillance trailer, approval of a neighborhood revitalization grant for housing rehabilitation and demolition projects, and approval of an agreement for work to commence on the Old Kings Orchard urban agriculture project.
PLEASE EXPRESS YOUR VIEWS AT THE NEXT CITY COUNCIL MEETING
A discussion of property taxes, changes to city code related to video gambling, and other agenda items will take on September 17, 2023. Meetings take place at 5:30 PM in the council chambers located on the third floor of the Decatur Civic Center (1 Gary K. Anderson Place). Free parking is available in the lot immediately south of the entrance. Citizens are encouraged to attend meetings and express their views. Citizens are allotted 3 minutes per person near the beginning of each city council meeting. In addition, citizens can provide comments regarding one regular agenda item per meeting for up to three minutes provided they notify the city in advance (and prior to the start of the meeting). You can request to speak on a particular agenda item at a council meeting by filling out an on-line form at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/advance-request-to-speak-at-council-meeting/.
CITIZENS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK TO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
If you would like to discuss city issues with a council member, phone numbers and email addresses for each council member can be found at the following link: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council/.
AGENDAS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE
An agenda and information about each agenda item for each city council meeting can be found at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council-meetings/.