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Leading With Excellence

The City of Canton recently held three public readings to adopt the millage rate and prepare for the final adoption of the 2022 operating budget. In many respects, this is one of the most important formal processes that I along with the City Council and City staff follow each year to ensure tax dollars are allocated and spent in the most responsible way possible. It is no easy task, but our team continues to do an excellent job when it comes to delivering the highest quality services and amenities at the lowest possible cost to Canton's citizens. After participating in eight budgets, I am especially proud of our results this year for a variety of reasons.

The plan is to hold Canton's millage rate steady again this year at 5.4 mills — the lowest tax rate in the last 28 years. You'd have to go back to 1962 to find a rate as low as the one proposed for next year. Canton will maintain the lowest millage rate of any city in Cherokee County and one of the lowest in Georgia.

In addition, Canton's millage rate includes all City services: police, fire, recreation, streets, municipal courts, community development, code compliance, building and safety services, and administration. Canton residents also benefit from the lowest sales tax rate in Georgia at 6%, and seniors ages 62 or older continue to receive a full exemption of property taxes on the fair market value of a home up to $280,000.

Our fiscal year 2022 operating budget will be the largest in the City's history at $88 million. The increase is primarily due to the bonds we received for the major expansion of our Water Pollution Control Plant and funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.

However, substantial expenditures include our major sewer plant project, the continued expansion of our river trail network connecting Heritage to Boling Park, a new downtown parking deck, a Housing Trust Fund, creation of an Office of Economic Development & Tourism, a citywide transportation study and plan, enhanced investments in cultural and public art, roadway improvement studies for GA-140 between Riverstone Parkway and Waleska, upgraded technology and equipment for Building & Safety Services and the Canton Police Department, ongoing exponential impacts of the Senior Tax Exemption, and so much more. With excellent financial stewardship and steadfast leadership, we remain in a fortunate position to hold our millage rate steady.

I hope you attended our public meetings on the budget. The entire document is posted on CantonGa.gov for those who were unable to be there. This graph shows the functions and amounts of expenditures for 2022:

As we plan and implement our budget to expedite our citizens' priorities included in our Roadmap for Success, our goal is to continue to enhance quality of life and services, while we "Lead With Excellence" to create and maintain the "Coolest Small Town in America!" 
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