People of Grovetown won’t have higher property taxes, but as result, may do without services

GROVETOWN, Ga. (WJBF)–  Good news and bad news for those of you who live in Grovetown. The good news is your property taxes are going to stay right where they are. The bad news is that means the city will have to find money elsewhere. The city council voted 3-1 last Monday night against a millage rate hike.

Grovetown officials proposed the millage rate rise because the city is in the hole more than $500,000 this year. The millage rate hasn’t risen in eight years, but the city administrator says jumping from 6.9 to 9 mils would have satisfied that deficit.

“Indeed we saw ourselves with a half of a million dollar gap, so what do you do?” John Waller, Grovetown City Administrator, asked.

He explained there are three options: make budget cuts, raise property taxes or dig into reserve funds. Grovetown Council voted last Monday to take one of those options off of the table. Council members Trudeau, Cook and Martin voted to keep it at 6.9. Councilmen Blair voted to raise the millage rate. With a 3 to 1 win, the millage rate will stay the same, which makes budget cuts unavoidable.

Councilmen Dennis Trudeau said he voted against raising the millage rate because he believes the city isn’t responsibly spending money.

“Well, we bought a truck for $150,000. Well, I don’t know how much money: Close to $100,000. We bought police cars, and I just don’t think that we need to make the people pay for these excess lawsuits that we’re having,” Trudeau said.

Waller said the deficit is a result from unexpected expenditures and revenue under-performing. In the next council meeting, Waller will present proposed budget cuts including: less street and sidewalk repairs, a cut back on curb trash pickup, a hiring freeze for city employees and public safety, to name a few.

Waller said as Grovetown grows, development follows. Although development is good, it requires money from the city.

“Everybody who comes in and builds a new home or buys a new home, for all of the money we bring in through their property tax, it pretty much goes right back out in terms of services provided,” Waller explained.

He added that Grovetown needs to diversify its tax base by bringing in business. He said commercial brings in more taxes than residential when it comes to sales.

“We are going to get through this little hardship. The man upstairs is going to make sure we get that money. We’ll be alright,” Trudeau said.

Grovetown City Council meets on Augusta 14th to talk about proposed budget cuts and reserve funds. Count on NewsChannel 6 to keep you updated.

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