24 April 2019

[TPC] - 1st Report on City of Covington Financials, FY 2018

By MB McCart, Editor 




The City of Covington, GA, unbeknownst to most citizens, saw its biggest property tax increase in over a decade as total ad valorem revenue for the city increased by almost $400,000 for a whopping 8% increase - an 8% increase in property taxation. Now, the city government will tell you that there was NO increase, that the millage rate remained the same at 7.654 mills; however, this is an intellectually dishonest notion, readers, as the bottom line is the amount levied in the most recent fiscal year was approx $5.2 million vs. the previous sum of $4.8 million .  It's the old "shell game," in which the tax increase occurs with the increased valuation of the tax base &  most everyone, but & seemingly arbitrarily, not everyone, pays higher taxes & the government definitely brings in more revenue. 

So there's that to start. 

Let's get into the actual numbers from the city's audited Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. 

On page 9 of the report we see that the big numbers for revenues & expenditures. Naturally, for government activities, the biggest source of income is through taxes, of all kinds & stripes (city's share of sales tax, transfer tax, etc.), and that amount set a record - $10,150,920. That's a lot of money & represented a 7% increase over the previous year.

But perhaps no other part of the report was as concerning as this: 



"General government" expenses went from approx $3.7 million last year to $4.35 million this year, representing an 18% increase in the cost of government for Covington in 2018! 

Here's the money line, folks: 

The City of Covington actually ran an $11.5 million deficit last year with the annual deficit growing an alarming 25% over FY 2017's number. 

Fortunately for us taxpayers, the city didn't have to increase taxes or take on new debt to be able to make up that shortfall as approx $10 million was able to be transferred from the city's utilities to make up a large percentage. However, the city did end up in the red this past year, to the tune of $1,555,521.



But that begs the question of this: what happens when Votgle goes online? Our utilities, and also most likely our property taxes, will be SKYROCKETING very soon, people. Now is the time to have a REAL & honest dialogue about some major issues & needed decisions.

So let's hit the pause button right there. Look for a 2nd report here in this space next week & for those who are interested - TPC's next print edition will have additional, print-only content that will hit newsstands by 10AM Friday (26th) morning.

As always, thanks for reading,

- MB McCart 

4 comments:

  1. Have our councilmen been hanging out with the people who run the governments of Chicago or New York? You can't keep increasing your spending by 18% while you increase your income by 8%. This will not end well. As with the federal government, once this behavior starts,it only gets worse.

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  2. Ha! Don't think we're quite to their level yet, Mr. Fred, thank goodness.

    But yeah, it's not looking too good. The Votgle thing is going to be tough, tough on us. Upwards of a 25% increase in COGS? Hold on to your hats, folks. Our already relatively high utility rates are about to go through the roof.

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    1. You bring up an interesting point. Crazy Bernie would be proud of us. Covington and the other members of MEAG have our own version of socialism now. If we ever have a Three-Mile Island or Chernobyl at one of our plants our utility costs will spiral out of control. It also will be lawsuit city. If our city government were smart they would get us out of this potentially dangerous situation.

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  3. We're in the county. Our property taxes went up 266% in two years. On appeal we were told we couldn't win - but they's do something about it in a couple years. Change the neighborhood lines or something...

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