Brookhaven City Council met Dec. 19 to discuss the new city’s purchasing policy and a 30-day moratorium on new business and alcohol licenses.
Chris Pike, a financial consultant for the city of Brookhaven, said Dunwoody has a policy that any purchase under $50,000 falls under the discretion of the city manager.
A similar policy has served other communities well, Pike said.
Interim City Manager Marie Garrett said she too would recommend that any purchase over $50,000 go before the City Council for approval. “$50,000 is customary,” Garrett said. “That’s always been my practice.”
She also said she leaves a three-day window for the council to comment before she signs off on a large purchasing item. Council members said they would like to include a provision in the purchasing policy requiring city manager to notify the council and provide three days for comment before making any large purchases.
“I think we’re just really interested in the transparency,” Councilwoman Rebecca Chase Williams said.
Council also voted to authorize Acting City Attorney Bill Riley to send a letter to notify DeKalb County of the services the new city will begin providing.
“Mr. [Richard] Stogner is diligent in helping us get through this,” Riley said. “We not only gave written notice but discussed it.”
Brookhaven has put a 30-day moratorium on new business and alcohol licenses to allow time to get staff meetings in place to process the applications and collect fees.
In the meantime, DeKalb County will continue to allow those who already have alcohol or business licenses that will expire to renew them for 2013.
Garrett said she is working on an audit to find out how many applications were submitted before the moratorium. She said it will be helpful to have those businesses plotted out on a map so the city can keep up with them.
Pike said he’s most concerned about businesses paying occupation taxes to the city of Brookhaven and not to DeKalb County.
Pike said more than 10 percent of the new city’s first year budget will come from occupation taxes, which aren’t due until May.
“It would have a significant budgetary impact if we don’t renew those,” Pike said. “There’s a lot riding on that.”
Riley said it’s important to communicate to businesses that rates in the new city will not be higher than those charged by DeKalb County.
Councilman Bates Mattison said he’d like for the city to send a letter to businesses about licenses and permits and post all the information on the city’s website. “It’s going to cause a lot of confusion in this transition so we need to get in front,” Mattison said.
The council also voted to make Brookhaven’s fiscal year Jan.1 –Dec. 31. “The terms of the fiscal year will coincide with the terms of your elected year,” Pike said.
Some council members questioned why other cities have a fiscal year is different than the calendar year. “There’s nothing that lends an advantage to having a June 30 or Sept. 30 end date,” Pike said.
The city has several more meetings planned throughout the week: 6 p.m. Dec. 20 at City Hall, 200 Ashford Center North, Suite 150; 11 a.m. Dec. 21 at Capital City Club; 9:30 a.m. at City Hall.