Amid the Fulton County tax collection mess, Atlanta Public Schools received some welcome news yesterday: The tax bills have been mailed! Hooray!
For those who haven’t followed this issue as closely or carefully as we have over the past six months, you can review my previous blog posts here, here and here about the matter. In short, Fulton County is months behind sending property tax bills after the Georgia Department of Revenue did not approve the county’s 2017 tax digest, which had frozen most assessments to FY2016 levels.
The county is completing the mailing in batches and all won’t likely be in the mail until Wednesday, Nov. 15. That’s better news for APS, Fulton County Schools and the 15 municipalities impacted by this issue. But here’s the challenge: Even though this mailing is underway, we must stay the course in implementing our spending-reduction strategies because we will not immediately receive our revenues.
We have had to take the following steps to address the short-term cash flow shortages caused by the delay:
- Slow outgoing cash payments
- Freeze new hires and implement spending freeze and new out-of-system travel freeze
- Delay the $500 one-time payment for employees not on the teacher salary scale
- Implement targeted furlough days for select positions (non-teaching employees)
- Defer unfunded pension payments
- Work with our charters to negotiate delayed payment
In regards to the furlough, about 1,200 of our non-teaching employees will have furlough days on Monday, Nov. 20, and Tuesday, Nov. 21. Their Dec. 15 paycheck will be reduced by two days of pay. On Jan. 15, 2018, those employees will be made whole again, after we begin receiving county tax receipts again.
Again, these furloughs do not affect our teachers. More details are available at https://www.atlantapublicschools.us/FurloughFAQs
Although we expect that tax revenues will soon begin to come in, the due date for those tax bills isn’t until December 31, 2017, which still puts us at the end of this calendar year before a majority of those funds will be collected. And it still takes time for those dollars to reach us so we can pay back a $100 million Tax Anticipation Note and make our final December payroll.
We are encouraging Fulton County taxpayers to please take care of their payments as soon as and as early as possible.
Go to the Fulton County Tax Commissioners site and search for your tax bill. You can pay online! If a mortgage company pays the tax bill on your behalf, please call them and ask for them to expedite the payment.
In the meantime, APS – and other affected parties – remain in a crunch. Therefore, our district will continue to do everything we can to ensure the continued smooth and safe operation of our school system. I can’t thank our colleagues and stakeholders enough for their commitment to APS and for their understanding of the steps we had to take to mitigate our short-term cash flow challenges.