Before their regularly held meeting Monday, the Waco City Council held a public hearing regarding their proposed resolution to raise property taxes by 1 mill. No residents were present at the hearing to voice either opposition or support. A second and third public hearing on the matter will be held on Oct. 8 at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. A called meeting to vote on the proposed 1 mill increase will be held at 7 p.m.
Waco has not seen a tax increase in nearly two decades, according to the council. The proposed increase was brought on by a reduction in Local Option Sales Tax revenues over the last several years, which has forced the city to pull from its reserve fund to cover some operating costs.
During Monday’s meeting, City Councilman Gerry Pounds noted in his financial report the continued depletion of the general fund as a result of these measures.
“As you can see, the general fund keeps diminishing,” Pounds said. “But we’re not overspending. We’re just paying for regular operations.”
The city’s current mill rate is 2 mills. The proposed increase is to add 1 mill, making the total city tax rate 3 mills.
“This would be a 50 percent increase, but when compared with other cities in the area, yours is still quite low,” City Auditor Michelle Robinson said.
Robinson presented the mill rates for other cities in the area to the council. Tallapoosa’s mill rate is set at 7.43, Buchanan’s at 5.614, Temple’s at 7.050 and Bremen’s at 7.103.
In other news, Councilman Doug Brock announced that the city would be applying once again for the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG). The grant would pay for 70 percent of the city’s approved projects, while the city would be responsible for 30 percent of the project costs.
Brock said he still needed to find out from the state how much the city was eligible to receive before he submitted his projects list.
“Our first priorities, though, will be Old Bush Mill Road and Atlantic Avenue if the funds are available,” he said.