“It was a better move financially to go ahead and pay the extra (fee) and move forward seamlessly ... than to put the brakes on everything,” said Dacula Mayor Trey King.
The state Legislature hastily passed a bill — later signed by Gov. Brian Kemp — that aims to prevent the tax commissioners in Fulton and Gwinnett counties from supplementing their salaries with fees. It only affects counties with 14 or more cities located wholly or partially within it.
Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Snellville and Sugar Hill chose to collect taxes on their own. Berkeley Lake agreed to pay a $1-per-parcel fee for the tax commissioner to collect, while Dacula and Peachtree Corners paid $2-per-parcel fees. The fees from the three cities will raise her annual salary by more than $34,000.
Handling its own tax billing will save Dacula dollars in the future, Coggins said. The cost was significantly cheaper than what other cities paid to set up their own tax billing, she said, as staff already used the company’s software for other purposes.
King worried that it could’ve cost the city more in the long-run had it chosen not to contract with the tax commissioner this year. “We were really looking at it from a business standpoint,” he said.
Porter’s office did not respond Friday to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s requests for comment on Dacula’s decision.
Porter initially proposed charging eight Gwinnett cities the $2-per-parcel for collecting their taxes, in addition to a $1.80-per-parcel fee to the county. The personal fee would have boosted her $141,098 base salary by more than $110,000.
Other tax commissioners in Georgia participate in the same practice. Porter contends that she deserves additional compensation for handling municipal collections, as she was elected in 2020 to collect on behalf of Gwinnett County, not its cities.
Grayson, the only Gwinnett city to test the new law, entered an agreement with the county and without Porter that seeks to obligate her to collect the city’s taxes without a personal fee. The city filed a lawsuit in July after Porter declined to collect.
Now, Porter is challenging the constitutionality of the state law passed earlier this year.