Although DeKalb County Commissioners passed the 2012 budget without a tax increase or any cut in major services, the proposed incorporation of Brookhaven and the potential loss of revenue from property taxes could cost DeKalb County taxpayers more money by June, said District 1 County Commissioner Elaine Boyer.
The $559 million budget adopted on a vote of 4-3 Tuesday includes increases in several county departments including line items for the CEO's office, human resources and the merit system, buidings and maintenance and economic developmen.
In a prepared statement, Boyer cautioned the 7.2 percent increase in the budget by pointing to the CEO's miscalculation from last year. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Ellis projected a 4 percent drop in property assessments when values plunged 12 percent. The $36 million hole in the budget was plugged by a 26 percent tax hike in which North DeKalb residents were among the hardest hit.
Boyer said that when revenue projections arrive from the tax assessor this spring, the county may find this budget is too generous. The Commission usually sets the millage rate in June to fund the budget plan. Tax bills go out in the fall.
“The CEO has a poor track record of projecting revenue, and it always winds up on the backs of DeKalb taxpayers,” Boyer said in a press release. “We should have held the line on spending over 2011, particularly since property tax revenue may decline again this year.”
Ellis' chief of staff Jibari Simama told the AJC in a preppared statement that, “We’re happy to come to the conclusion of a very difficult process that resulted in the majority of the CEO’s recommended budget being adopted."