Fulton overcomes tax delay problems, bills due month later than 2019

AJC FILE
AJC FILE

Fulton County’s tax bills are being sent out after a delay that could have been devastating to budgets throughout the county.

County Manager Dick Anderson said Wednesday that the due date for all non-Atlanta residents will be Nov. 15 and Oct. 31 for Atlanta residents — a month later than the deadlines last year.

News of the delay in mid-August left leaders worried they wouldn’t be able to collect money before December or January, which could have caused serious budget ripples for cities already cash-strapped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fulton officials blamed the delay on the city of Atlanta not finalizing its millage rate, which determines how much property owners pay in taxes. City representatives pointed the finger at Atlanta Public Schools not setting its rate, and APS officials said the district was in line with the city’s schedule.

ExploreFrom August | Fulton: Tax notices will be late because Atlanta delays setting millage rate

School district leaders started figuring how they could borrow money to keep the district afloat if the tax collections were late. The APS school board approved a plan last week to borrow $50 million, and Fulton had been arranging a $45 million bridge loan.

Due dates before the end of the year decrease the chance schools districts will need to take out these loans, but the delay still has an effect on finances.

Later due dates will probably mean slightly less money coming into the county because there is less time to finalize bills before the end of the year, said Fulton Chief Financial Officer Sharon Whitmore.

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