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City Council Recap - June 19, 2019


Happy Hump Day! Here is the recap from City Council last night.

We had a lengthy meeting (long post ahead… sorry!) with 2 presentations, work session, public hearing and a special call meeting.

Presentations were given by the City Auditor and on the DeKalb Transit Master Plan. The Auditor presented the 2018 FY audit. Thanks to the management of Mrs. Thornton, we have done a great job being fiscally responsible. Our reserves are up, and we did not need to take out a tax anticipation note this year to cover cash flow as we await revenue from property taxes to come in. This is the first time in about 5 or 6 years we have been able to accomplish this. The full audit report will be posted to the website soon.

DeKalb County allowed their transit consultant to present to each City, and we are grateful for that. For more information on the master plan please visit their site: http://www.dekalbtransitmasterplan.com/ They have come up with 2 viable options to improve mass transit in the county based on either an additional 1 penny or ½ penny sales tax. The County Commission will vote on this plan next week. The City also plans on passing a resolution next week in support of the master plan.

Council is considering a new ordinance on Unlawful Discrimination. This is modeled after the one recently passed in Chamblee. I am proud that we are considering taking this step. I do have some concerns with the enforcement measures in the draft ordinance. I want to ensure that when we pass an ordinance we can immediately implement and enforce it. There will be continued discussion on this at next month’s work session.

The biggest discussion was on the proposed millage rate, which is at 22 mils currently. This holds the same millage rate that was adopted in 2018. However, due to increased property assessments by the county it would mean higher tax revenue being collected at the same millage rate and by law must be and was advertised as an increase. The City could choose to adopt a millage rate of 19.194 mils which would collect the same revenue as last year. The difference in the 2 collections is roughly $300,000. There will be 3 public hearings, 2 on June 26th (11am and 6pm) and one July 2 at 6:30pm. Council will make final vote on July 2nd at the regular voting meeting. Although we heard from many citizens that they do not want us to raise their taxes, it should be clear that City only has control over the millage rate. If you have concerns with your assessed value, that must be addressed with the county tax assessor. You have until July 15th to file for an appeal. https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/property-appraisal/appeal-process

So why would the City want to collect more than last year when we are managing our finances better than ever? Because we still have projects and items that were not funded. We have a failing infrastructure like every other city in America that needs to be updated. SPLOST helps with some of these projects, but it cannot be used to fix our failing storm water system (it can only be used for capital purchases for police, transportation related projects, and upkeep of parks). Council would like to have programs to offer residents at our parks which currently we do not have a means to fund. It is not lost on Council that any increase in funding means an increase on our Citizens already tight budget.

It can be tricky trying to strike that balance of providing services that are being requested and holding a minimal general fund budget.

Public hearing was held on making 2nd Street and Manor a 3-way stop.

Special call meeting approved Cert-Pro as the vendor to repaint a portion of the depot. And approved a contract with Broadcast Music, Inc.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but it was a long night!

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First off, thank you to everyone who has reached out. The support is appreciated more than I can express! So, it was another 4 hour meeting of Council. Bear with me as I try to explain some of what oc