Service Delivery Information
Here’s some history:
As stated in in the Official Code of Georgia, a county and its municipalities are required to negotiate their service delivery strategy (or SDS) in conjunction with an update to the county’s comprehensive plan. In the summer of 2017, both Hall County’s Comprehensive Plan and Service Delivery Strategy were revised and adopted by the Board of Commissioners and approved by the Department of Community Affairs at the state level. The Service Delivery Strategy was also jointly approved by the Hall County Board of Commissioners and seven of the eight municipalities. A county and the municipalities located within the county must reach an agreement to ensure that services are being delivered in an effective and cost-efficient manner and are not being duplicated between County and City governments. Georgia House Bill 489, effective May 1997, requires that services proved by both the county and/or each municipality be evaluated to ensure that the municipal taxpayer is receiving reciprocal services. The overall objective is to satisfy the SDS to serve the needs of all the citizens of the entire County, provide for funding equity and to comply with the act.
Hall County was required by state law to present an updated SDS to the state in the summer of 2017. In negotiations between the County and its cities as a part of that process, it was decided to pull out various service tax districts to tax all residents in a more equitable manner based on services received or services available to them.
So what does that look like?
For example, road maintenance, planning, code enforcement and engineering have all been combined in a tax district titled “Developmental Services” that will only be taxed for the unincorporated resident. The theory is that the cities of Gainesville, Oakwood, Flowery Branch, Buford, Braselton, Gillsville, Clermont and Lula already provide these services to their residents, so setting up this tax districts makes tax bills more equitable.
The second new tax district will be titled “Emergency Services.” This new tax district will apply to all residents of Hall County-- both incorporated and unincorporated— and will include a millage rate for Emergency Medical Services, which includes ambulance services and emergency management, since those are services provided to all residents of the county.
There will also be a “Parks and Leisure” service district. Since the City of Gainesville operates its own robust Parks & Recreation department, City of Gainesville residents will not see a Parks and Leisure millage rate on their tax bills compared to residents in other municipalities and in unincorporated Hall County.
The general fund millage rate will change due to the new service districts, ultimately lowering the general fund millage rate for all residents.
What’s not changing?
The Fire Services District will not be changing, nor will its millage rate structure. It should be noted that City of Gainesville property owners are not charged for Hall County Fire Services since that city operates their own fire department; however, the property owners in the County’s unincorporated areas and other municipalities, including Oakwood, Flowery Branch, Clermont, Lula, Braselton, Buford and Gillsville will continue to see a fire millage on their property tax statements
The structure of the SDS has changed since 2004. Back then, the County and its municipalities agreed on a credit process where, in general, all tax rates were the same and then the County issued credit payments to the cities, who, in turn, could issue that “credit” to their taxpayers. The creation of the new service districts streamlines the process by essentially only requiring property owners to pay for services they use.
How does this affect me?
On the property tax assessments that go out April 13, there will be a note outlining the fact that SDS has been restructured to be more reflective of the services provided to you by your local governments based on where you live.
When you get your property tax bill in September, the bill will list the various new tax service districts where applicable with their corresponding millage rates.
What if I still have questions?
If you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.