Marietta officials: Homeowner property tax bills will go down for third year in a row

The city of Marietta will begin holding public hearings for this year's tax rate July 20 at City Hall, 205 Lawrence St. (Courtesy of Marietta)
Caption
The city of Marietta will begin holding public hearings for this year's tax rate July 20 at City Hall, 205 Lawrence St. (Courtesy of Marietta)

Property values have surged during the pandemic, but Marietta officials say homeowners will pay less in taxes.

Marietta plans to keep the city’s property tax rate flat for the 19th year in a row. City Council is expected to confirm the overall rate of $4.99 per $1,000 of assessed property value at its Aug. 11 meeting.

Marietta spokeswoman Lindsey Wilsey said the average Marietta homeowner should see a 2.4% dip in their overall property taxes this year. That will amount to a $15.36 savings on a property valued at $317,266 with a homestead exemption, Wilsey said.

Georgia law requires cities and counties to compute a “rollback rate” each year when the values of taxable property are reassessed. The rollback rate is essentially the rate that would keep residents’ property taxes the same even if the values of their homes rise.

Georgia law deems any tax rate above the rollback rate to be a tax increase.

Marietta officials estimate they will collect just shy of $12.9 million in property tax revenue this year, about 2.6% more than last year.

The general fund, which pays for government services such as police, fire and public works, accounts for most of the overall tax. Yet it’s just one of four city funds that appear on Marietta homeowners’ property tax bills. Residents are also taxed for cemetery preservation, the Franklin Gateway Redevelopment bond and an obligation bond that pays for projects at Marietta’s public parks.

The city plans to keep its general fund tax rate at $2.79 per $1,000. Due to a rise in property values, that’s 6.1% higher than the rollback rate of $2.63 per $1,000 for the general fund. It’s a tax increase, according to state law, requiring the city to hold three public hearings before approving the tax rate.

Marietta officials insist when taking all four funds into account, the overall property tax rate is actually dropping 2.4% from last year’s rate of $5.12 per $1,000. The rate for the Franklin Gateway Redevelopment bond has been reduced from $1.63 to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. It’s the only one of the four funds whose tax rate will change this year.

The tax rate for all four funds combined is still higher than the city’s overall rollback rate of $4.82 per $1,000.

Wilsey said this will mark the third year in a row Marietta’s property taxes have decreased. The average homeowner of a house valued at $350,000 has seen about $70 shaved off their tax bill over that span, she estimated.

According to city officials, Marietta implemented a “property assessment freeze” in 2001 that ensures the appraised value of a homeowners residence stays the same as long as they retain ownership of the house. The measure offsets increases in property value on the city’s portion of the property tax bill by keeping the value at the rollback rate even if your true assessment rises.

Marietta’s public hearings are slated for 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. July 20, and at 9 a.m. July 27. All will be held at Marietta City Hall, 205 Lawrence St.

Marietta property tax rates 2021 vs 2020
Overall, homeowners should see a small dip in property taxes in 2021, city officials said, because the rate for the Franklin Gateway Redevelopment bond has been reduced from $1.63 to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value.