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Jonesboro may keep property tax rate at 1.5 mills

JONESBORO — The Jonesboro City Council is expected to vote Monday to keep its controversial property tax rate at the same level for the next year.

The agenda for the council’s next meeting shows the city’s governing body is scheduled to “consider” a proposal to keep the town’s millage rate at 1.5 mills. The meeting will take place Monday, at 7 p.m., in the council chambers at the Jonesboro Police Department, located at 170 South Main St., in Jonesboro.

A public hearing on the tax will take place during the meeting, before the council takes a vote on the issue.

The property tax issue stirred controversy last year when businesses protested because they felt they would have to pay the majority of the tax. The city has a $60,000 homestead exemption which precludes most homeowners in town having to pay the tax. The city had not had a property tax since 2006, and city leaders wanted to re-establish it at a rate of 2.5 mills.

The city asked the Clayton County Legislative Delegation for legislation in the Georgia General Assembly to lower the exemption to $30,000, but the legislation was never introduced. The city council eventually settled on re-establishing a property tax at the current rate of 1.5 mills, but council members were split 3-3 on the issue and then-Mayor Luther Maddox had to cast the tie-breaking vote.

The council will also re-consider the number of turnaround days allowed for locations that have conditional use permits. The turnaround issue involves what happens to a property after a business — which occupied it with a conditional use permit — leaves the property. It deals with the number of days similar businesses have to move in and take over the conditional use permit.

The council will also consider a new roof for the Jonesboro Police Department building, a contract to build sidewalks on Fayetteville Road and the construction of a city storage building at its public works department. The council will also consider the hiring of Bill Johnston from Strategic Planning Initiatives LLC to provide planning, zoning, economic development and annexation services for the city.