With Athens seeing its biggest recent jump in appraised property values this year, the city council discussed a possible decrease in the tax rate at a public hearing on Monday.

"The total increase in ad valorem values from the previous year, just based of a levy increase, no tax rate change, would be $371,139," Quigg said.

Mayor Monte Montgomery said this might be a year the council could trim the tax rate to benefit the property owners.

"This is a unique opportunity for us," Mayor Monte Montgomery said. "I haven't seen this kind of property value increase since I've been on here. It might never happen again."

The assessed valuations for 2019 totaled $764,609,704, up from $710,151.14 in 2018. During the past 10 years, the previous largest increase was from $669,991,990 in 2013 to $692,001,796 in 2014.

For the past four years the rate has been 0.685221 per $100 valuation. One penny on the tax rate is equal to $76,461.

Quigg said the proposed rate is equal to last year. Of that 0.555603 is for maintenance and operations and 0.129618 for debt service.

Councilman Ed McCain said the council members don't know when the next recession is coming.

"That worries me a little bit," McCain said.

If one comes, future council members may wish the city hadn't cut the rate in 2019," McCain said.

The 1/2 cent Athens Economic Development Corporation tax can now be used to better the lives of Athens residents.

"If we can save some money here and can have an AEDC that's actually re-investing in Athens, we can make up that difference," McCain said.

The council can look at the possible rate change during its next budget session, Montgomery said.

The city will have a budget work session on Wednesday. At the Monday, August 26 meeting, the council is set to have a public hearing on the budget, first reading on the budget ordinance, second public hearing on he tax rate and first reading of the tax rate ordinance.

On September 9, the schedule calls for a final reading on the budget ordinance and adoption of the budget. Also slated are the final reading on the tax rate ordinance and adoption of a tax rate.

On Monday, the council also conducted a first reading of an ordinance amending sanitation fees for residential, commercial and industrial customers.

The proposed increase, to go in effect on October 1, raises the residential pick-up rate from $13.75 to $14.25.

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