DeKalb County residents could see their first tax cut since 2004 under the 2015 mid-year budget recommended by Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May on June 2.

Lee May

“An economic recovery is underway in DeKalb County, which has had a positive impact on our tax digest,” May said in a press release outlining his mid-year budget presentation. “We are in a great position to fund our critical needs in addition to offering relief to the taxpayers of DeKalb County.”

 The proposed benchmark 2015 millage rate is 20.81 mills, down 0.4 mills from 21.21 mills in 2014, according to the county.

The budget that was approved in February projected a 3.6 percent countywide growth rate and 3 percent growth rate for incorporated areas, which were conservative estimates.   The projected end of year fund balances for the all tax funds in aggregate was $34.7 million. The new digest figures and slight adjustments in the millage rates produce $36.6 million more in revenue with only $12.8 million more in expenditures.   This creates a new projected year end fund balance of $57.5 million or 1.21 months for all funds in aggregate.

“Our reserves are now in much better shape than they were just a few years ago,” May said. “We have made good on our promise take steps to restore our rainy day fund, and then some. Now it’s time to make good on our promise to cut our tax rate.”

Other budget highlights, according the county:

Stormwater has an additional $3 million to handle project backlogs with private contractors

  • Fire & Rescue has additions of $1.5 million to retain 22 firefighter positions which would have been lost to attrition.
  • Sheriff has additions of $1.1 million to preserve current staffing levels.
  • Police has additions of $1.0 million to cover the first phase of body cameras
  • Parks has additions of $994,000 for restore previous budgetary reductions
  • Information Technology has additions of $695,000 for expenses associated with moving from the Calloway Building and migrating from the email archive system.
  • The new Traffic Court division of State Court (replaces Recorders Court) receives an additional adjustment of $571,000 related to improving service levels.
  • Superior Court has additions of $450,000 for court reporter services and juror expenses for prominent cases occurring later in the year.
  • Libraries receive $400,000 for library materials.
  • District Attorney has $208,000 restored from previous budget adjustments.
  • Solicitor General has additions of $103,000 to expand prosecutorial efforts.
  • Cooperative Extension Service receives and additional $26,000 for staff to assist with the new Mobile Farmer’s Market Program.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.