The Winder City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on a new storm water utility tax that will add at least $30 to this fall’s annual tax bills on residential properties and many times that on non-residential properties owned by businesses, churches, schools and other non-profit groups.
A group of local business owners came to the council’s work session Monday night to ask the mayor and council to slow down in the adoption of the proposed stormwater ordinance and rate schedule, and to ask them to try to find another way to pay the costs the city incurs for the maintenance and repairs of the ditches, culverts and retention ponds that control and manage runoff.
One businessman said his fee would be over $20,000 to start.
When council members asked whether the matter could be tabled at tonight’s voting session for further study, Mayor Chip Thompson said immediate action is needed because of an Aug. 15 deadline for getting the new charges to the county tax commissioner’s office so they can be added to property tax bills.
But Barrrow County Tax Commissioner Melinda Williams told the Barrow Journal she remembers giving the city a deadline of “the end of August.” And Williams said even that date is flexible. With the county's required public process prior to the adoption of the FY2011 budget and new millage rate, she said it is likely that she would not be able to calculate the tax bills until Sept. 15.
The city has not held or scheduled a public hearing on its proposed storm water ordinance. However, there is a public comment period at every council meeting.
Tonight’s meeting is at 6 p.m. and will be at the Winder Community Center, 113 E. Athens St.