Dunwoody’s city manager says $18 a month is all the average homeowner pays for city services.
During the Oct. 4 Dunwoody Homeowners Association meeting, Eric Linton, the city manager, and Mayor Mike Davis presented homeowners with the budget that will be approved next month.
DHA President Robert Wittenstein said this is the month in which residents can influence changes in the budget by letting council members know what they value most.
For less than the cost of a tank of gas, a resident with a $350,000 house pays $18 a month in property taxes and gets 24-hour police protection, parks, bike lanes, paving and street maintenance and a thriving community, Linton said.
“For $18 you get a lot of services,” he said.
City departments came up with focused plans and Linton said only a few things were cut from the budget. Davis said he introduced a $70,000 budget item to pay for costs associated with making the city “festive” during the holidays. Davis said the request came after he and Wittenstein met and the money would help the DHA put our lights, pay to maintain and store the decorations on behalf of the city. The money will not be in the budget passed by City Council, Davis said.
In addition to keeping the millage rate steady at 2.74 mils, Linton said Dunwoody is wise with its budget and smart in it planning.
“We also have a vehicle replacement fund [for the police department],” Linton said. “Some communities, what they’ll do is wait until the vehicles or equipment is worn out” and then have to replace everything at one time.
Linton said having the plan to replace police cars on an ongoing basis eliminates the potential to have to replace the entire fleet at one time.
Davis said the city plans to spend almost its entire $34 million general fund, of which $10 million is restricted to expenses such as 911 and storm water.
“What we’re talking about is funding the basic services and also the potential new city hall,” Davis. Said.
He said the city’s lease runs out in about three and a half years and the building the city currently rents recently sold to a new owner.
“We got an unbelievably great deal seven years ago,” the mayor said, but he said now that the economy has picked up and the city is only one of many tenants in the full building, the likelihood of getting a good deal on rent again is slim.
“Most rental agents are not thrilled to have people in orange jumpsuits coming through their building,” Davis said. “When it comes time to renegotiate our lease, things are going to be a little more interesting for us.”
Instead of wasting money on rent, Davis said the city could build equity in owning its city hall, Davis said.
Davis said the city is putting money away and plans to bank half a million dollars in 2016.