PTC, Tyrone OK new E-911 tax
Starting this year, Peachtree City and Tyrone residents will be paying a separate property tax to fund operations of the countywide Emergency 911 center.
So will their counterparts in Fayetteville and the rest of the county.
Thursday night the city councils in Peachtree City, Tyrone and Fayetteville approved a contract with Fayette County that institutes the tax, which will be applied to all county residents.
That means this year, city residents and those in the unincorporated county including Brooks and Woolsey can expect to see an additional line item on their tax bills with the charge, which is expected to amount to .2 mills.
And starting next year, the cities will no longer be paying for the services as they currently do. This year Peachtree City is paying $253,000 as its share and Tyrone is paying almost $51,000.
Several residents at Peachtree City’s council meeting asked if the city would roll back its millage rate this year to counteract the new tax. Peachtree City Finance Director Paul Salvatore noted that the city is already in effect lowering property taxes by about $200,000 this year because it is not raising the millage rate to account for lower property values.
A citizen noted that residents whose property values had not gone down would certainly be seeing a tax increase with the new E-911 property tax.
Salvatore later noted that he hadn’t pulled an equivalent $250,000 amount from the city’s future year budgets. Doing so would equal roughly a .14 mill decrease in the property tax rate, he said.
The decision on whether to lower property taxes further rests with the City Council, and there was no such overture from council Thursday night.
The county and city split the costs which are not covered by the $1 and $1.50 surcharges on landline and cellular phone bills.
Those phone surcharges account for $1.8 million of the center’s budget for the coming fiscal year.
The remaining $786,000 in E-911 costs has been funded by the county and each municipality, with each paying in a share based on their portion of the county’s entire population.
This year, the county is expected to pay in $364,000, with Peachtree City paying, $253,000, Fayetteville paying $117,649 and Tyrone paying $50,756.
Even as the new 911 tax is enacted this year, the city will make one last payment to the county out of its general fund this year in order to help pay off capital improvements for the 911 center that were originally funded by the county.
The agreement reached between the city and county mirrors those being reached with Fayetteville and Tyrone, officials said.
The negotiations about 911 center funding began about 18 months ago between the county and cities, sparked by the cities’ concerns that residents were being double-taxed because the cities paid from their general fund for part of the E-911 service, and the county too made a payment from its general fund. City residents pay both city and county taxes.
County Manager Jack Krakeel said he still feels city residents are not being double taxed, particularly since property taxes are not the county’s only source of revenue.
Krakeel noted that the county has paid for all E-911 center capital improvements, including $10 million on a new radio system in 2003, and it costs about $800,000 a year to maintain the system.
The agreement creates an E-911 communications board that will create policy and make fiscal recommendations to the Fayette County Board of Commissioners. The E-911 staff will remain county employees under the new funding mechanism, and although Mayor Don Haddix expressed concern about that part of the arrangement, council adopted the agreement on a 4-0 vote, with Councilman Doug Sturbaum absent.