A very, very, very conservative number would be 25 percent (revenue loss from property taxes), but realistically, Im thinking probably closer to 40 to 50 percent, Goulart said.
The city normally receives about $1.5 million in property taxes each year and has a general operating budget of more than $6 million. Goulart said hell propose a plan hes discussed before to replace property taxes altogether with a one-cent Municipal Option Sales Tax. It would require legislative approval and a voter referendum, but could be implemented as early as 2010, he said.
That way, you dont create an incentive to have all of your tax exempt people (move into the city), he said. Everybody would want to live in F.O.
Fort Oglethorpe voters approved a measure in this years general election that provides new exemptions for three age groups and the disabled with 2,500 votes in favor of it and 342 against it.
The measure will provide a homestead exemption from City of Fort Oglethorpe ad valorem taxes for $10,000 of the assessed value of the homestead for everyone.
Catoosa County Tax Commissioner Sandra Self, who collects the ad valorem taxes on behalf of the city, said that residents will not have to take any action to receive this exemption.
I will change the amount of the exemption from $2,000 to $10,000 in our system, she said.
The other exemptions affect those who are just now turning 60 or turning 70.
If a homeowner is turning 60 they may apply after Jan. 1, 2009 to have their homestead exemption from Fort Oglethorpe ad valorem taxes increased from $10,000 to $40,000 of the assessed value, she said.
If a homeowner is turning 70 or is disabled, drawing disability from social security, they may apply after Jan. 1, 2009 to have their homestead exemption increase to 100 percent of the assessed value, she said.
If they are already receiving the over 65 or over 75 exemption that they qualify for, they will not need to sign up again, she said. It is only for those qualifying for something new.
Council Member Johnny Red Smith said hes glad the city can provide tax breaks to elderly and disabled citizens, but he recognizes that the exemptions will impact the citys budget.
Im for anything that will help our seniors, he said. When this (came) about, nobody was expecting this (economic) downturn.
City officials decreased their 2009 budget by 2 percent from last year.
Self invites any homeowners with questions to contact her office to check the exemptions that they currently receive and verify that they have applied for everything for which they are eligible.
For more information, call (706) 965-2571.
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