DeKalb CEO pitches 1.08-mill tax hike to commission
DeKalb County still needs a tax increase this year, CEO Burrell Ellis said Sunday. But it doesn’t have to be as large as the one he pitched in December.
Ellis announced a revised spending plan Sunday afternoon that calls for a 1.08-mill property tax hike — roughly 40 percent less than the increase he proposed two months ago. That would work out to $75 more in taxes on a $200,000 home, or $32 on a $100,000 home.
The county commission’s budget committee last week rejected a tax increase for 2010. But Ellis, in a letter to commissioners, told them some form of tax hike is necessary this year.
A cuts-only approach to budgeting will not only add to the hardships that families are experiencing because of the recession, but will also undermine our ability to fund our parks, libraries, health-care system, infrastructure, judicial system, and public safety, which are important in order to maintain the quality of life of our citizens.
Ellis’ amended budget actually proposes an additional $6.5 million in spending, primarily to restore funding for county courts. But by delaying pay and benefits hikes and holding off on infrastructure improvements, his revisions call for spending about $4.5 million less than he did two months ago.
The amended 2010 budget eliminates a proposed 1 percent merit pay hike for county employees, as well as a 0.5% percent increase in contributions to their pension plan.
The CEO’s revised budget also projects that Recorder’s Court will bring in $5.3 million more than had been estimated, primarily by collecting more fines. Auditors in 2008 said the court had failed to collect tens of millions of dollars as a result of management problems described as “organized chaos.”
The commission is scheduled to vote on the 2010 budget Tuesday. The tax rate will not be set for several months until final 2010 property values have been determined.