0

Leesburg votes to maintain 6-mill tax rate

Judy Powell (left) and Debra Long of the Leesburg City Council were among the City Council members who voted to approve a tax rate of six mills - the same rate the city has operated under since 2008. (Danny Carter)

Judy Powell (left) and Debra Long of the Leesburg City Council were among the City Council members who voted to approve a tax rate of six mills - the same rate the city has operated under since 2008. (Danny Carter)

LEESBURG — City of Leesburg property owners reviewing their budget for the remainder of the year can count on one thing — not having to pay more in city taxes this year.

Leesburg City Council members voted 4-0 Thursday night during a special called session to keep this year’s millage rate at 6 mills. It’s the fifth consecutive year the rate has remained at 6 mills — a feat also matched by their counterparts on the Lee County Commission.

The motion was made by Sydney Johnson and seconded by Judy Powell. Mayor Pro Tem Debra Long and Councilman Billy Breeden also supported the millage decision. Mayor Jim Quinn and Councilmen Bob Wilson and Richard Bush were not present, although Quinn arrived from another commitment just after the special session ended.

City Clerk Casey Moore said tax bills may go out in the mail as early as Sept. 20 “but no later than the end of the month.” She said the bills are due no later than Dec. 20.

The tax rate for city property owners would have been 16.206 mils if not for rollbacks because of the local option sales tax.

The 6 mills will produce city taxes of $358,938, an increase of $19,454 over the previous year. The 5.73 percent increase in revenue is because of a slight increase in the overall tax digest.

The gross tax digest in Leesburg is $60.9 million. The net digest is roughly $59.8 million after exemptions are subtracted. The digest has grown more than $7 million from its $53.1 million level in 2008.

The council also unanimously approved a resolution which paves the way for a low-cost financing plan for the city’s new public works facility.

The resolution basically deeds the land where the public works building will be constructed to Georgia Municipal Association for $55,000 consideration. The city of Leesburg will lease it from GMA while it pays off the $625,000 debt at an interest rate of 1.8 percent.

“At that time, they’ll deed it back to us,” said City Attorney Bert Gregory. The city would have been required to conduct a referendum on the issue without GMA serving as a conduit for the financing, Gregory said.

Work is expected to begin on the new public works building in three or four weeks. William Clark, public works director, said the construction should take about 120 days to complete.