Brookhaven City Council is considering a tax rate of 2.85 mills, down from the 3.35 rate that was originally included in the city’s 2013 budget.
Council is scheduled to vote on the millage at 7 p.m. July 9 at the city’s Municipal Court.
Brookhaven’s charter caps the city’s millage rate at 3.35. Council members agreed that they would like to set the tax rate lower if possible.
Property taxes are calculated by multiplying a property’s assessed value and the millage.
Councilwoman Rebecca Chase Williams first proposed a rate of 2.95 mills, which she said would bring in enough revenue for the city to operate comfortably.
“That gives us a little bit of wiggle room and my hope is that we will end the year with a good solid reserve fund,” Williams said.
Councilman Jim Eyre suggested bringing the rate down to 2.85, which would provide the city with about $200,000 less than if the millage was set at 2.95.
“I have a real fear that government expands to fill the tax allowed,” Eyre said. “If we believe our budget is a fair and accurate representation of what we need to spend this year for the city, then I think we need to hold our millage at that rate.”
City Manager Marie Garrett cautioned the council from setting the rate too low.
“I think that once you set this rate, the community will expect some predictability,” Garrett said. “I would be the last person in the room that would want to come back to you with a budget for 2014 and ask you to increase the millage.”
There are still several unknown factors in Brookhaven’s budget. Officials have yet to come to an agreement with DeKalb County over how much the city owes for the interim police and parks and recreation services the county has been providing. And DeKalb has not yet announced what portion of the Homestead Option Sales Tax Brookhaven will receive.
“It’s difficult because we just don’t have all the facts. It’s our first year and we don’t have all the numbers from the county,” said Mayor J. Max Davis.