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Davis: 'We're Not Raising Taxes or Cutting Services in Brookhaven'

A full-blown budget controversy has erupted in the new city less than three months into its existence.


Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis is vigorously refuting a city councilman's assertion that the new city will soon face either a tax increase or cutback in services because of a budget shortfall.

"It's almost like a piece of propagnda from the NoCity campaign," Davis said, referring to a Monday email from District 2 city councilman Jim Eyre. "He's making unknown assumptions that are being treated as fact.

"We're not going to be raising taxes or cutting services in Brookhaven."

Eyre's email said that Davis' proposed budget will result in a revenue shortfall for 2013.

"The dilemma we have is that the city's revenue for 2013 is substantially lower than it will be in later years as the timing of the city start up as detailed in our City Charter does not allow us to collect $7 million to $9 million in taxes and fees until 2014," Eyre said.

"Therefore, we are facing a one year budget shortfall that can only be made up [through] a property tax increase as noted above or cuts in services to be provided by the city during our first year of operations," he said.

"As I see it, we have two options," Eyre continued. "Accept a tax increase for 2013 with expectations that this increase will be reduced for homeowners in 2014 when all revenues are available to the city of Brookhaven, or further reduce our service levels to better match available revenue with little or no tax increase for homeowners."

However, Davis said Eyre's assumptions are based on what DeKalb County decides to do with the HOST millage.

"We won't know DeKalb's HOST millage rate until this summer," Davis said. "There are several facts that aren't in his email, and until we know what DeKalb will do with the HOST rate, we won't have any idea what our city's millage rate will be."

Davis said that last July, DeKalb County used a 2011 surplus in police services to provide a one-time tax decrease for unincorporated residents, mostly as a tool to persuade residents to vote against cityhood. 

"That brings up the question: if you use up your surplus last year, how are you going to handle the budget this year?" Davis said. "He's comparing apples to oranges, and it's unfortunate and somewhat irresponsible that he's done this."

The Brookhaven City Council is holding a public hearing on Tuesday night, Feb. 26, at 7 pm in Lupton Hall at Oglethorpe University.

"Our millage rate that has been approved in the city charter has not gone up, and we still believe we can provide better services than DeKalb and keep our tax rates low," Davis said.

See Also:

Patch's Complete Coverage of the Brookhaven City Council

Eddie E. February 26, 2013 at 01:16 PM
Let's see, what reasons are there that the County would hand off ANY surplus to Broke-haven? In preparing such a fantasy I can just see the character that John Lovitz used to do on SNL with the line 'yeah, that's the ticket' as an imaginary way to make up for the obvious shortfall. Apparently, the training for municipal officers didn't include sessions called 'Basing it on Reality'.
Eddie E. February 26, 2013 at 01:27 PM
I believe Jim took an oath to serve the Citizens he represents...... That includes being HONEST about our finances. How is being HONEST equated as being a troublemaker?
FreddieK February 26, 2013 at 02:42 PM
It has only taken Mayor Davis a couple months to have been caught in a bald-face lie that was the linchpin of his campaign for mayor and the most frequently promised truth of Brookhaven Yes AND little Mike Jacobs.
William February 26, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Jim's 'net' taxes for Police and Non-Fire Municipal services (the line items being replace by city taxes) in 2011 were $250, in 2012 they were $113...in 2013, they will be $202. The county played shenanigans on the millage rates and Host exemption last year at the expense of cities. Every city with every political persusion...from Dunwoody to Decatur to Lithonia to Pine Lake to Chamblee has called the county to the carpet. http://www.crossroadsnews.com/view/full_story/19913615/article-Mayors--county-squabbling-over-millage-rate-hikes?instance=home_more_headlines Jim would apparently like you to believe the county lowered taxes by 70% last year. That's truly amazing. He needs to join the fight with the other cities in DeKalb on behalf of Brookhaven's residents instead of joining the county's crusade to manipulate and divide its communities through fuzzy math and back room accounting.
William February 26, 2013 at 03:03 PM
By the way, in case you just glossed over the fact that businesses in our city will be receiving a significant tax cut, please read this article today in the AJC on how long-time businesses in DeKalb are fed up with their taxes rising while their services drop. I'd love for Patch to interview commercial land owners and businesses in Brookhaven on the incentive provided for staying in our city due to the massive tax cut they are receiving this year. Oh well... http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/dekalb-expects-no-new-taxes-no-new-fixes/nWZJS/ So...businesses see through the county's tactics, other cities see through the county's tactics, but the councilman from District 2 feels it necessary to continue to champion their cause by embracing their dastardly arithmetic? It's rubbish and does nothing to help our city.
Greg Trinkle February 26, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Council Man Eyre is just putting out the facts for his constituents. In the email Councilman Eyre sent to his constituents, it clearly states he used 2012 Taxes Base but calculated these 2012 with City of Brookhaven 2013 Mils rates. It also states that the rates will vary depending upon the value of the home. Furthermore, Councilman Eyre also points out that there are some that will actually save money on their taxes, “This tax increase would only apply to homeowners who currently qualify for HOST and Homestead credits and owners of commercial properties and rental properties who do not qualify for either tax credit will see a reduction in their tax rate. “ Letting your constituents know the facts and asking for their input. Sounds like he is doing his job as an elected official.
Greg Trinkle February 26, 2013 at 03:25 PM
(CONTINUED) I do see that Mayor Davis was quoted in the patch: "Our millage rate that has been approved in the city charter has not gone up, and we still believe we can provide better services than DeKalb and keep our tax rates low," Davis said.” Mayor Davis is correct in that 3.35 Mils is not a tax increased based on the charter that we voted in. But that is not the question here. The question is will people (In this case property owners) be paying more in taxes at the 3.35 Mils and loss of Host Credit? While Mayor Davis is correct that the HOST Credit has not been set for 2013, based on my taxes, unless the HOST Credit for 2013 is substantially lower than any of the previous years, I will be paying more in taxes under the City Charter. I consider our police services as the most important service for our city. While the CVI study calls for 53, I will consider it a cut in services if we have less than 65. So I am willing to pay the increase for 2013 and let the chips fall where they fall after we get a full revenue in 2014.
Eddie E. February 26, 2013 at 04:13 PM
william, Fuzzy or not, the bills have to be paid with something. Do you prefer to pretend we will be receiving a 'surplus rebate' this year, or are you ready to accept there are two options?
Eddie E. February 26, 2013 at 04:16 PM
Greg, We certainly agree on Police services and costs for them. I am not willing to accept ANY cuts there.
William February 26, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Eddie- There are only two options if you put your faith in the fake math of the county. If, on the other hand, you listen to the unanimous voice of the mayors from the 9 other cities in the county plus that of our own mayor, it becomes pretty clear your two choices are akin to Alice deciding what to do in Wonderland... I, for one, hope we don't waste city resources following you, Jim, and the Mad Hatters at the county down the rabbit hole.
HamBurger February 26, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Mr. William, here is what is NOT being talked about: There is a shortfall in the budget and it will have a big impact on city roll out. The city will proceed, just at a slower rate unless the shortfall funds can be recouped. Where will these funds come from? That is going to be the challenge Mayor J. Max has before him in order to live up to Brookhaven Yes’s promises. Please! Someone grab that dog before it gets to the curtain! Special hamburger and a Cheerwine?
Travis Thatcher February 26, 2013 at 05:04 PM
Who cares about $42 per $100k in home value if Jim is right. Maybe Jim should have run for mayor. When will everyone accept the city?
Booyah February 26, 2013 at 05:19 PM
How much longer will the anonymous personas resist the realization of a city. Jim Eyre showed his true colors when he wrote the email to his legion of 'No City' followers. Explaining the issue of budget reality and service delivery is a service to the community. Rehashing old arguments of 70% increases in taxes is irresponsible. We voted to create our city based on a 3.35 millage rate ceiling. Unless that is changed, our city taxes will not have changed from our expectation. Brookhaven has control of the taxes we charge our residents, we have no control (or limited influence) on the rate DeKalb chose to manipulate in their failed attempt to stop our city.
Travis Thatcher February 26, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Well put
Eddie E. February 26, 2013 at 05:43 PM
kesha, When it meets and exceeds ALL it's promises.
HamBurger February 26, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Mr. William, there is a video of the February 23, budget work session that you might want to review. You have to listen carefully because it is acknowledged but not a lot of time is spent on it. As I stated previously, just roll out the city a little slower unless you are concerned about keeping your promises. Not a big deal, right? Unless you expect folks to keep their promises! I am not concerned with Dunwoody or any other new city. I am not in the DeKalb “clown car”, but I do live in DeKalb and have concerns about the “clowns” in Decatur and how they govern DeKalb. That is why I have said our first order of business should be to clean up DeKalb government. But, you like to ignore my statements along these lines and denigrate me or anyone else that dares to speak truth. But, if that makes you feel superior, I give you a pass! You ready for that special hamburger and a Cheerwine?
Enuff Govt Already February 26, 2013 at 06:28 PM
The promise was; incorporating will not result in your taxes increasing and police coverage will double.
Brookhaven4u February 26, 2013 at 06:39 PM
X & TS, this seems to go against some of the basic principals in the run up to the city. The Charter put 3.35 Mils as a max. BrookhavenYes and our Founding Father promoted lower taxes. If 3.35 (which was widely contested even in 2010) turns out higher, then the expectation of lower taxes is not being met by what was promised from our founding fathers. Pointing out budget realities (Year 1 short fall) is something a leader should do. I would hardly call this irresponsible. Pointing out options and asking for citizen input, tasks I expect from a leader. Managing expectations and realities of our budget (year 1, read the notification from Mr. Eyre) & looking at options, that is the type of leader I want. If residents of district 2 have concerns, showing up at tonight’s council meeting to be heard also sounds like sound advice.
HamBurger February 26, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Mr. William, I am well aware of what is going on in other new cities, the comparison is just not important because the demographics are different. Man, Dunwoody can sometimes have exciting meetings! And, I have acknowledged the process by stating that revenues are not as sold and the roll out of the city may take a little more time. Or, with additional revenue, the city can be delivered more timely as sold. Mr. Jim pointed out a difference. Mayor J. Max got a little hot because he wants to work on things before he has to make any announcements. That fellow from Dunwoody sure has been working on that budget for a long time! After you finish YOUR glass of water, check out these two videos and let me know what you think. http://tinyurl.com/at48exq The links take you to the specific discussions about the millage rates for your amusement. More importantly, if you start the 2-23 video at the 5:00 mark the revenue shortfall is revealed. And, the reason is that the Vinson study utilized incorrect information. Clearly, city roll out will take a little more time. Excuse me, I am going to grab me a special hamburger with thin sliced onions, pickles, and yellow mustard!
Joe-suppi q plumber February 26, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Does anybody really believe that if they start off at the maximum millage rate that they will EVER go down? If so, I may offer that you may have recently been trained by the DeKalb county school system. Do not raise my taxes! If you have to then slow the rollout of services.
Enuff Govt Already February 26, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Looks like the county was listening to you. http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/dekalb-budget-to-restore-money-for-system-upgrades/nWZj7/ William for District 1 commisioner?
"E Pluribus Unum" February 26, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Have any of the other Council representatives commented yet? Since Bates is my Council person, I would be interested to hear his perspective. Even though I was not in favor of a new city, we now have one. As such, I would hope our elected officials would try and work in concert coming out of the gates. IMHO, this is a matter that seems to be of such importance that I want the entire leadership working hard to discuss these matters among themselves, reconcile the differences, but sing off the same music sheet at this early state.
Mike February 26, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Everyone who voted for the City should buy tax anticipation bonds to fund the city during this "budget" shortfall.....since all will be just fine by 2014.
Tim Darnell (Editor) February 27, 2013 at 11:47 AM
A reminder that, if you're addressing another commenter, to use that person's posting name and not their real name.
Eddie E. February 27, 2013 at 01:44 PM
How did the council meeting go?
Faulkner February 27, 2013 at 08:26 PM
We all new there would be a shortfall the first year due to the calendar/collection times. I'm not sure why everyone is freaking out. I was really hoping Jim Eyre was going to be a positive and productive member of the council. It appears he is going to do the opposite.
HamBurger February 28, 2013 at 02:31 AM
Mr. Faulkner, to clarify, people paying attention during the road to cityhood knew there would be a delayed acquisition of tax funds due to Brookhaven during the first initial year and a half. Having said that, you would be surprised just how many folks that you would consider intelligent are actually clueless because they actually have no clue of the revenue timeline. That is not the issue. The issue is a shortfall in revenues due Brookhaven because of a defective Vinson study. Now, I have said this before and have caught a lot of flak from various members of C$ND and Brookhaven Yes, including J. Max Davis. So, just ignore me. But, maybe you will pay attention to the Budgetmiester from Dunwoody, Mr. Chris. Please refer to my February 26, 3013, 1:56 PM post above for a link and explanation of what to look for. Let me know what you think. Or, you can do as Mr. William has done simply ignore the facts from the horse himself. Regardless, what Mr. Chris says, is what Brookhaven has! Please pass the yellow mustard!
Chris March 04, 2013 at 05:46 PM
It was pointed out.
"E Pluribus Unum" March 05, 2013 at 02:57 AM
I received a robo call this afternoon from an unnamed source. The message was highly critical of the Mayor and on-going budget controversy. This is over the top BS. If someone has a problem, go see your district rep and/or the Mayor.
Brokenhaven March 11, 2013 at 03:18 PM
What about the no call list. I'm on it so don't call me for more money when all of the lies about " lower taxes" don't quite pan out.

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