At a time when some government leaders are catching heat for wanting to raise taxes, the mayor of Roswell is catching heat for his proposal to lower them.

“We can afford to give our taxpayers a break,” Mayor Jere Wood told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik.

Wood said the city has a surplus this year that he’d like to give it back to taxpayers. He said the city had $26 million in reserves and could afford the millage rate decrease.

“If we can cover everything we covered last year and give our taxpayers a break, why not?” Wood said.

Wood’s proposal would have given homeowners an average of $12 off their tax bills and cost the city about $500,000.

But this week, in a 4-1 vote, Roswell’s City Council voted down Wood’s proposal, opting instead to keep the tax rate the same as it was during the last budget year.

“My concern is that we are looking at cutting our level of service by reducing this millage rate,” Council Member Nancy Diamond told Petchenik.

Diamond told Roswell she’d rather see the money used for road paving projects and other needs.

“For basically what’s a dollar a month for each household, we can do a lot of good with that,” she said. “We don’t feel like that’s an effective use of the money.”

Diamond said the city still doesn’t fully know how the Fulton County tax digest is going to pan out this year. Early projections showed a slight drop from last year.

“It just seems irresponsible at this point to be counting on money we don’t know is gonna be there,” she said.

Homeowner Richard Sarhadian told Petchenik his only wish is that his property taxes don’t go up.

“If it stays the same, that’s good,” he said. “If it comes $12 less, that’s much better.”

Roswell’s City Council will take a second and final vote on the budget Wednesday.