Milton Herald: “Jones highlights tax breaks in homestead exemption referendums”

October 18, 2018

Jones highlights tax breaks in homestead exemption referendums

MILTON, Ga. — Milton state Rep. Jan Jones outlined three homestead exemption referendums on the Nov. 6 general election ballot at the City Council’s Oct. 8 meeting.

Following outcry over a sharp increase in assessed home values over the past three years, legislation passed in March will allow Milton residents to vote on a law that will cap future increases on homesteaded property values at 3 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.

The legislation also rolls back the values on homes to the lowest level over the past three years. If passed, homeowners would need to apply for the exemption by April 1, 2019. Residents who already receive the exemption would not need to reapply, Jones said.

Homeowners who purchase a Milton home prior to Jan. 1 can still apply for the exemption. Homes sold after Dec. 31 will be subjected to the prior year’s assessed values.

Another referendum on the ballot uses the same exemption process regarding Fulton County School taxes.

Jones reiterated that the exemptions are only available for homes used as a primary residence, which excludes commercial or rental properties.

The third referendum is a homestead exemptions for all Fulton residents over 65 years old. If approved, the measure would provide a $50,000 exemption from Fulton County ad valorem taxes.

Milton already provides a $15,000 exemption for senior residents.

Fulton County is one of a few metro counties that does not provide a school tax exemption for seniors, but the Nov. 6 referendum could be the first step in drafting such a bill, Jones said.

The Fulton County School Board has stated they do not have details on how many senior residents are within the county, and the district is in the dark as to what a senior school tax exemption would cost the system, Jones said.

“They do not track age, and neither does the Tax Assessor’s Office,” Jones said. “But a minor senior exemptions at the county level will allow us to figure out how many people, 65 and over, would apply for a senior exemption. Then we can have a reasonable and informed discussion with the school board about some level of exemption.”