Gwinnett changes course, adopts same property tax rate as 2018

2018 Gwinnett property tax bills are in the mail and due Oct. 15. File Photo
2018 Gwinnett property tax bills are in the mail and due Oct. 15. File Photo

Property taxes may still go up for some Gwinnett County home and business owners.

But not as much as previously proposed.

The Gwinnett Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday afternoon to adopt a 2019 property tax rate identical to last year’s. That means that the government share on soon-to-be-issued tax bills could go up if a property’s assessed value has done so (though officials are quick to point out that a majority of Gwinnett homeowners qualify for an exemption that allows the amount owed to be calculated on previous values).

Regardless, any spikes will be less than if the county had adopted the rate hike that was previously proposed.

“I think it was the appropriate thing to do,” Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said after the vote.

Nash and her colleagues heard from dozens of upset homeowners after they proposed adopting a tax rate hike. Under the hike, the owner of a home with a fair market value of $275,000 would have paid about $19 more dollars than what they will under the re-adoption of 2018's rate.

The same owner will still pay around $33 more than if the county adopted a lower “rollback” rate, which would create the same total revenue for the county as the previous year.

DIstrict 3 Commissioner Tommy Hunter, a Republican, was one of the “no” votes. He previously said he wanted the rollback rate.

District 1 Commission Ben Ku, a Democrat, was the other “no” vote. He said a higher rate would’ve allowed the county to avoid using reserve funds to balance this year’s budget.

“I don’t think we should be dipping into our reserves,” Ku said. “We should be adding to them.”

The government rate adopted by the commissioners accounts for only about one-third of Gwinnett property owners’ taxes.

The county school system’s rate accounts for the rest. This year, the school system adopted a tax right slightly lower than 2018’s.

Tax bills are scheduled to go out in mid-August.