Canton city council discusses millage rate, SPLOST | Local News |

2022-07-08 19:20:46 By : Ms. Sophie OuYang

Applicant Terry Russell is applying for a master plan amendment and conditional use permit to construct a 172-unit townhome development on 38.14 acres along Bluffs Parkway.

Applicant Terry Russell is applying for a master plan amendment and conditional use permit to construct a 172-unit townhome development on 38.14 acres along Bluffs Parkway.

CANTON - The Canton City Council is considering keeping the city's millage rate the same at 5.4 mills, and held its first public hearings on the rate Thursday.

Though it's the same rate the city has had since 2017, a 5.4 maintenance and operations millage rate would result in a tax increase for those with higher assessments due to rising property values. This rate is 20.43% higher than the rollback rate of 4.484 mills, which would keep city property tax revenues the same.

A pair of public hearings were held Thursday, one in the afternoon and a second in the evening.

“It’s a great achievement and I just want to applaud the team and council for their great work,” Canton Mayor Bill Grant said Thursday of the millage rate.

One resident that spoke during the public hearing, Thomas Weaver, praised the city for its "strong fiscal conservatism in holding the millage rate steady."

The maintenance and operations millage rate is “an all-inclusive rate for city services that includes our contract for fire services with the county,” City Manager Billy Peppers said earlier this month.

“Each year, no matter what value the city sets the millage rate at, the city must pay the fire tax to the county,” Canton Finance Director Melissa Forrester said. “The county is recommending a fire tax of 2.984 mills. If we leave the rate at 5.4 mills, that leaves 2.416 mills for the city to operate on once we pay the fire tax. If we went with the rollback rate and still paid the fire tax, we’d only be left with 1.5 mills to run the city on.”

Forrester said Thursday that 2,990 residential parcels qualify for the senior tax exemption. More than 78% of senior-owned properties receive the full $112,000 Canton senior exemption, saving senior taxpayers $1.7 million.

To qualify for the senior exemption, a resident must be 62 or older, occupy the home that they own, and apply for the exemption with the Cherokee County Tax Commission, Peppers said.

Under the 5.4 millage rate, the proposed city tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $375,000 would be about $137.40. The $375,000 represents the average homestead exemption home value, Swindell said.

The proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $225,000 would be about $82.44. The $225,000 represents the average non-homestead exemption home value, Swindell said.

In Canton this year, 10,516 homes, or about 93%, went up in value, while 188 went down in value, according to Steve Swindell, chief appraiser with the Cherokee County Tax Assessor’s Office. Another 603 homes saw no change in value. Swindell added that nearly half Canton properties, 5,613, have a homestead exemption.

The city's proposed millage rate is separate from those of the Cherokee County government and school district, which adopt their own millage rates.

The city council will hold a final public hearing and vote on the millage rate at 6 p.m. July 21 at city hall, 110 Academy St. in Canton.

Also at the meeting, the council:

- Discussed an intergovernmental agreement draft with Cherokee County, outlining the process and timeline for the call of a referendum and discuss Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax projects with the city council. The mayors and Cherokee County Board of Commissioners recently reached a consensus for the distribution of proposed 2024 SPLOST proceeds. A call for a referendum on the SPLOST will occur from the BOC on Aug. 2. The cities and county must reach an intergovernmental agreement to declare the use of the proceeds, according to city documents. If voters pass a 2024 SPLOST, Canton is projected to receive $49,778,642. Of this amount, $3.4 million is expected to be used for joint road projects. Peppers said some of the possible road projects could include improvements on Marietta Highway at Univeter and Butterworth Road intersection, and the Heard Road extension. The city council will vote on the IGA at the next meeting.

- Tabled an application from applicant Terry Russell, who is seeking to build a 172-unit townhome development on 38.14 acres along Bluffs Parkway. The applicant did not use the proper method to notify surrounding residents of the application, said Canton Zoning Administrator Steve Green. The application will come to the city council in August.

- Approved a contract with Waste Pro of Georgia to provide sanitation services to residential customers within Canton city limits, effective Oct. 1. The proposed rates, according to city documents, are $18.24 for weekly residential garbage service (contractor-owned 95-gallon roll-carts), or $16.84 for the senior rate. Additional rates include $16.49 for weekly residential garbage service (additional cart), $9.90 for bi-weekly recycle collection service (contractor-owned 95-gallon roll-carts), and $8.15 for bi-weekly recycle collection service (additional cart).

- Discussed bids received for the city's Harmon Park improvement project. This project includes construction of a 10- to 11-inch-wide multi-use concrete trail, sidewalk improvements, additional parking, full size basketball court, 60x90 foot mini-pitch soccer field, stadium style sitting, replacing fencing on existing baseball field, construction of a prefabricated picnic pavilion, and additional items, according to city documents. The city council is scheduled to vote to award a contract for the project July 21.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. July 21 at city hall. The meeting will also be available online at

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