The temporary collection order will let Fulton Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand send bills before the state Department of Revenue approves the county’s tax digest. Until a settlement with the state last month, the county had not had its tax digest approved since 2016.
Ferdinand said Wednesday he did not know when tax bills will be sent, but the order would keep the process moving more quickly.
Not waiting for the tax digest to be approved would help prevent governments like the Atlanta Public Schools from having to borrow more money to fund operations, Ferdinand said.
APS earlier this month said it could borrow up to $120 million to cover its expenses because of delays with tax bills.
Fulton County commissioners this week passed a 3 percent decrease in the tax rate that is the revenue-neutral rollback. The county expects to collect around $520 million in taxes this year.
Robb Pitts, the Fulton County commission chairman, cautioned that the county would need to begin belt-tightening measures, despite growth. Fulton spends more money than it takes in, he said, and depends on reserves to cover the balance.
But Pitts said the chances of a recession are high, and the county still has outstanding lawsuits regarding the taxes it collected in previous years that could cost the government millions of dollars.
“We may be looking at some more difficult days in the future,” Pitts said. “No one’s going to be interested in a property tax increase.”
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