by Robin Kemp
The Morrow City Council will consider a referendum that would give homeowners a break on their property’s first $80,000 of value at tonight’s meeting. The Georgia Assembly would need to sign off on the proposed ballot measure.
Ordinance 2022-01, the Homestead Exemption Legislation Bill, is up for a second reading tonight. A third reading and passage by the council would send it to the Gold Dome, where lawmakers would vote on whether the city could place the question on the ballot sometime this year.
If passed, the bill would raise the homestead exemption from the city’s current $60,000 limit. It would not exempt homeowners from taxes used to retire bond debt. Under former Mayor Jeff Detar, the city consolidated its debts into a single loan, which DeTar said ” will be paid off in three more years. It’s the only long term debt on the books at the moment.”
The proposed homestead exemption would not affect any state, county, or Clayton County Public School taxes that Morrow homeowners pay. That’s because those taxes are not imposed by the city.
If the ballot measure were to pass this year, it would go into effect as of January 1, 2023.
In November 2021, a nonbinding resolution to raise the homestead exemption to $80,000 passed 375 (66.49%) to 189 (33.51%). Morrow has a $150,000 homestead exemption.
Also in 2021, property taxes went up 4.86%, an increase of 0.421 mils.
In other Morrow news, Urban Redevelopment Agency Chair Lana Labay was recognized by Georgia House Resolution 604, sponsored by Rep. Yasmin Neal, who also will be at tonight’s meeting.
The city also is looking to impose a 120-day moratorium on new permits, licenses, or inspections “related to the development of construction within the Mixed Use (MU) District.” Most of the city’s mixed use is near the intersection of Morrow and Jonesboro Roads (the light blue areas on the city’s zoning map). Others are near B.C. Haynie Elementary and J.L. Christian Park on Morrow Road.
You can see Morrow’s full zoning map at https://bit.ly/3qZhmRi
The regular meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The work session starts at 6:30 p.m. and will include a report on the Morrow Center’s profits and losses, the water tank, and upcoming city events.