Board of Commissioners starts FY23 Budget and 2022 Millage consideration
July 26, 2022 - Cobb County’s Board of Commissioners approved the 2022 millage rate and 2023 budget during its Tuesday night meeting. The general fund millage rate remains steady at 8.46 mills, but the budget climbed by more than $60 million primarily due to a tax digest fueled by a rise in property values.
The board adopted a $22 million compensation and classification study designed to increase county employees’ pay to more competitive levels. A previous study showed that the county’s pay rates were eight percent below similar governmental entities, leading to significant vacancies across county departments. The budget will move the minimum pay rate in the county to $17/hour.
The budget also adds 148 new positions out of the 658 new staffers department managers had requested during a series of work sessions since last fall.
Despite calls to roll back the millage rate during a public hearing, Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Lisa Cupid said doing that would imperil county services as Cobb continues to grow.
“This is not a panacea, but tonight will help us get there,” Cupid said. “This board is doing the best it can do to be good stewards of your county tax dollars and the services that you expect us to provide. Cobb County is one of the best counties in the state, if not the nation, but we can’t continue to maintain it as such under these conditions. Rolling (the millage) back would only make this county more compromised than the county you expect us to be.”
County Manager Dr. Jackie McMorris echoed the sentiment, telling the board many who work for the county are below the poverty line and can barely make ends meet.
“It burdens me to have to listen to someone say they don’t have the money to replace a refrigerator that’s not working or to replace tires on their car, or they don’t have the luxury of some of the things many of us take for granted,” Dr. McMorris said. “But yet they show up every single day to do the work of this county. I don’t know how we can sleep at night and wonder how some of our employees who have been here this long deserve this.”
Article: Cobb’s $1.2B budget looks to rebuild beleaguered county government
Essential documents about this year's budget and millage rate
June 30, 2022 - Please view these documents concerning this year's budget and millage consideration:
Board of Commissioners Work Session on the FY23 Budget
June 28, 2022 - Cobb County's Board of Commissioners received their first briefing on the proposed FY23 budget for the county's general fund, which includes a $1.15 billion budget that does not propose a millage rate increase. The budget's growth is attributed to a robust tax digest that came in 12.3 percent higher than the prior year, primarily due to the residential real estate market.
Chairwoman Lisa Cupid said the upcoming budget desperately needed the tax digest increase to deal with workforce issues, both departmental requests for new positions to help serve a growing population and a large segment of the workforce that has left for higher-paying positions elsewhere.
"Driving around town and seeing fast-food restaurants and other retail services providing entry-level pay of $15 an hour and to hear stories of our workers struggling to put food on the table has been disheartening," Chairwoman Cupid said while reiterating her proposal to move starting pay for county employees to $17 an hour. “Hopefully, this will make us more competitive and attractive for those who are committed to serving our public.”
Cupid also said many of the personnel additions in the budget, specifically those in the PARKS Department and Code Enforcement, were in response to issues raised during recent cityhood movements and heard in a series of town halls. “I hope this will help show those who were active in the cityhood movements that we were listening and want to be responsive to the needs they shared,” the Chairwoman said.
During a series of work sessions, county department managers requested new positions to help them keep up with the demands of the county's infrastructure and growing populace. The leaders had asked for 658 new positions in the county, but the proposed budget only includes 147 new full-time positions.
Even though the proposed budget does not increase the general fund’s millage rate, state law mandates the county advertise the budget as a “tax increase” because of the rise in the tax digest.
DOCUMENTS PRESENTED TO THE BOARD:
June 26, 2022 - Cobb’s Chief Appraiser says Cobb residents living in their primary homes will save $71 million this year thanks to the homestead exemption. Facts:
- The “Floating Homestead Exemption” freezes what you pay into the county’s general fund when you bought your primary residence or applied for the exemption.
- The Homestead Exemption only applies to the county’s general fund, the part of county operations that include police, sheriff, courts, transportation, elections, parks, libraries, and other vital services.
- The exemption does not impact the part of your tax bill that goes to the school district, fire fund, or any applicable city taxes.
- Most homeowners below the age of 62 will find between 60 and 75 percent of their property taxes go to the school district.
- $71 million equates to about 1.7 mils of property tax revenue.
June 21, 2022 - Commissioners will hear details on the proposed FY23 budget during an informational work session set for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 28. This meeting will follow the Board of Tax Assessors' approval of the tax digest and will consider the recent pay and class report submitted by Evergreen during a work session earlier this year. Cobb Department Managers warned commissioners that many “critical” frontline positions remain vacant because workers have left for higher-paying jobs, and it has been challenging to replace them.
Three public hearings on the budget and millage rate will follow into late July. You can view this meeting (as well as all commission meetings) at www.cobbcounty.org/CobbTV.
Public Hearings schedule:
FY23 Budget and 2022 Millage - Tuesday, July 12 at 9 a.m.
2022 Millage - Tuesday, July 19 at 6:30 p.m.
2022 Millage - Tuesday, July 26 at 7 p.m.
Commissioners approve emergency measures for Cobb's frontline staff:
Home Assessment Video featuring Cobb's Chief Assessor:
Metro Atlanta Millage Rate Graph:
AJC: As the staffing crisis grows, Cobb turns to employee bonuses and private contractors:
Cobb's Department Managers spoke to the Board of Commissioners about staffing issues during a series of work sessions. WATCH those work sessions through the below links:
Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021
Human Resources, Finance, Medical Examiner, Communications
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Public Services, including Parks, Libraries, Senior Services
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
District Attorney’s Office, Department of Transportation
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Community Development, Superior Court
Thursday, November 18, 2021
Support Services, including Property Management, Information Services, Tax Assessor, and Purchasing
Tuesday, December 14, 2021
Department of Public Safety, including Police, Fire, Emergency Management and E911
Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Probate Court, Tax Commissioner, State Court
Tuesday, February 8, 2022
Juvenile Court, Clerk of Superior Court, Water
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Cobb Sheriff’s Office
Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Finance Dept’s Summary of Presentations