Cobb Commissioner Birrell to hold open house for residents to ask questions, comment on the 2024 budget

JoAnn Birrell seated in BOC meeting roomJoAnn Birrell at the BOC zoning meeting (screenshot from county video)

Cobb County District 3 Commissioner JoAnn Birrell distributed the following announcement about an open house she’s organizing in East Cobb to discuss the proposed budget:

“Commissioner Birrell is hosting an open house, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 19, at the Tim D. Lee Senior Center, 3332 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta.

“This is an opportunity for the community to learn about the 2024 budget process, ask questions and state any comments or concerns.

“Chief Financial Officer Bill Volckmann, Assistant Comptroller Buddy Tesar, and representatives from the Tax Assessor’s office, Cobb Police Community Affairs and Precinct 4 will be in attendance.”

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Background

The first of three required public hearings on the upcoming Cobb County millage rate vote was held last Tuesday. The hearings are required because the proposed millage rate will result in more revenue collected than last year.

To homeowners, an increase in their tax bill is enough to determine that the county has increased taxes.

But there are two ways that the average property tax bill of property owners can increase.

One is an increase in the millage rate, which is the percentage of the value of the property levied for taxes in various jurisdictions (city, county) and for various purposes (general fund, fire, debt service). This year the rates proposed are general fund at 8.46; the Fire millage rate at 2.99; the Debt Service (Bond Fund) millage Service District millage rate at 3.50.

The other is when market conditions result in a rise in property values, resulting in an average increase in the amount property owners are taxed.

State law requires that last year’s total revenue is the baseline to determine if taxes increased or decreased, and this is determined by whether the millage rate proposed by the county results in an increase in revenue given the overall value of property in the county.

This year’s proposed tax increase is largely due to the value of homes increasing, rather than millage rate increases.

Here is the announcement the county distributed prior to the first of the three meetings:

The Cobb County Board of Commissioners today announces its intention to increase the property taxes it will levy this year, over the rollback millage rate, by 18.02 percent in the County Maintenance & Operations (General) Fund.


Each year, the Board of Tax Assessors is required by Georgia law to review the assessed value for property tax purposes of taxable property in the county. When the trend of prices on properties that have recently sold in the county indicate there has been an increase or decrease in the fair market value of any specific property, the board of tax assessors is required by law to re-determine the value of such property and adjust the assessment. This is called a reassessment.


When the total digest of taxable property is prepared, Georgia law requires that a “rollback” millage rate must be computed according to specific instructions issued by the Georgia Department of Revenue. This hypothetical “rollback” millage rate would have produced the same total tax revenue on the current year’s digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced had no reassessments occurred.


The continued recovery of the Cobb real estate market is the primary reason for this modest growth in property values and this corresponding increase in the county’s property tax digest. The 2023 proposed millage is higher than the recently computed “rollback” millage rate. Therefore, before the Cobb County Board of Commissioners may set the final 2023 millage rates, Georgia law requires that three public hearings be held to allow the public an opportunity to express their opinions on the increase.


The Cobb County Board of Commissioners (BOC) is proposing the property tax millage rate of the General Fund be set at 8.46; the Fire millage rate at 2.99; the Debt Service (Bond Fund) millage Service District millage rate at 3.50. State law requires the County to advertise a “Tax Increase” in the press and on the County’s website.


All citizens are invited to the public hearings on this tax increase to be held at the Board of Commissioners meeting room located at 100 Cherokee Street, Marietta, Georgia on Tuesday, July 11, 2023, at 9:00 AM, Tuesday, July 18, 2023, at 6:30 PM and on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, at 7:00 PM.


The Board of Commissioners will adopt the 2023 Property Tax Millage Rates for its five tax districts (General, Fire, Debt Service, Cumberland Special Services District II, and Six Flags Special Services District) following the third public hearing at the BOC Meeting on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, at 7:00 PM.

Please view these documents concerning this year’s budget and millage consideration:

FY 2023 5 Year Tax History

2024 Proposed Budget Notice

Notice of Property Tax Increase

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