The City of Buford has taken steps to reduce property taxes for some residents through new legislation currently going through the Georgia General Assembly.

During the City of Buford Commission Meeting on Feb. 5, the commissioners unanimously voted to have bills drafted that could eliminate City of Buford residential property taxes for some homeowners and reduce property taxes for others.

The first of the two bills, HB 1319 amends the original homestead exemption bill that exempts the full value of the home and up to an acre of property for anyone 70 or older on their City of Buford ad valorem taxes. The bill would lower the age for this type of homestead exemption to 65 years or older.

Buford City Commission Chairman Phillip Beard says the bill would mean a “full exemption on (the) house and up to one acre of land upon reaching 65 years of age. This year we have 169 owners who would qualify for this.”

The second bill, HB 1320 amends the original homestead exemption act from May 6, 2005. The amended bill would increase the homestead exemption on homes from $22,000 to $100,000 of the assessed value of the homestead.

“This will eliminate property taxes on approximately 90% of our homes,” says Beard.

The two bills were sponsored in the Georgia House of Representatives by Rep. David Clark, R-100th; Rep. Soo Hong, R-103rd; Rep. Farooq Mughal, D-105th; Rep. Derrick McCollum, R-30th and Rep. Matt Reeves, R-99th. Both bills were passed by the House of Representatives on Feb. 29 and will now proceed to the State Senate. If the bills pass in the Senate, they will go to the governor to be signed.

Beard says that the bills will not become law until they”receive a positive vote of the Buford voters.”

If HB 1319 and HB 1320 pass both houses and are signed by the governor, they will appear on the municipal ballot for the City of Buford on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2024. Registered voters who reside within the city limits of Buford will be eligible to vote on these bills to become law. If the majority of voters cast their ballots in favor of the bills, they will take effect on Jan. 1, 2025.

Here are the questions that will be asked on the Nov. 5 ballots about these two bills.

“Shall the Act which provides for a homestead exemption from City of Buford ad valorem taxes for municipal purposes for the full value of the homestead for residents of that city who are 70 years of age or over be amended to lower the age to 65?”

“Shall the Act which provides for a homestead exemption from City of Buford ad valorem taxes for municipal purposes in the amount of $22,000.00 of the assessed value of the homestead for residents of the City of Buford be amended to increase the exemption to $100,000.00?”

With such huge savings for the majority of Buford homeowners, what impact will it have on the City’s ability to fund its over $200 million annual operating budget?

“Our Commercial and Industrial tax base continues to grow. It can and will be able to fund our tax needs for our School District,” says Beard. “If our voters approve of this, our taxes and rates still will be one of the lowest in the area and the state. Our residential taxpayers will basically have very little or no property taxes to pay. The City runs solely on fees, utility profits and sales taxes. Again these taxes are some of the lowest in the state. Compare our rates — $ 2.00 for backyard garbage service, $1.00 per thousand for water and the state’s cheapest sewer rate at $0.50 per thousand.”

To be eligible to vote on these two bills in the Nov. 5, 2024, election, you must be a registered voter residing within the city limits of Buford.

If you are not a registered voter and wish to become one, you must pass the criteria below.

  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Be a legal resident of the county
  • Be at least 17 1/2 years of age to register and 18 years of age to vote
  • Not be serving a sentence for conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude
  • Have not been found mentally incompetent by a judge 

The deadline to be registered to vote in the Nov. 5, 2024, General Election is Oct. 7, 2024.

To register to vote, you can submit your voter registration application online by clicking here or you can submit a copy by mail. You can download the postage-paid voter registration application here and follow the instructions on the application to mail it to the Secretary of State’s Office.

If you wish to check your voter registration status including what precinct you will vote at, a sample ballot, make changes, etc. visit the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page.

Verified by MonsterInsights