DeKalb County has an extra $12.9 million to work with in 2013.
That’s what DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis said when he delivered his amended 2013 budget recommendation to the Board of Commissioners’ finance, audit and budget committee on Jan. 31.
Ellis’ amended budget recommendation includes a millage increase of 0.64 mills. That would mean the owner of a $200,000 home would have a tax increase of $18.37 per year, or $1.53 per month.
The original budget recommendation in December contained a 1.69 mill increase, or $48.48 per year on $200,000 home.
Ellis’ budget recommendation “remains $562.7 million,” said Burke Brennan, the county’s chief communications officer. “It just takes less of a millage increase…to get there.”
“This represents a reduction of over 1 mill in the recommended millage rate and appropriately balances the county’s financial resources with our need to deliver services,” Ellis said. “It also funds our four critical priorities: 1) funding for more police officers, 2) streamlining the permits and licensing operations, 3) building a new animal shelter, and 4) providing a 3 percent pay increase to the lowest paid county workers, earning less than a livable wage.”
In a letter to commissioners, Ellis said the change in his proposed budget was due to “the success of the fiscal and budgetary controls implemented during 2012,” Ellis stated. These controls “produced a significant improvement in the county’s tax fund year-end fund balance” to the tune of approximately $8.75 million in savings, he said.
The $8.75 million is “carry-over savings from 2012,” Brennan said. “We instructed department heads to restrain from spending as much as possible, and they did.”
Another adjustment to the budget came after “an in-depth review of the county’s revenue anticipations for 2013…concluded that the 2013 anticipations may be increased by approximately” $4.22 million, mainly in the category of public utility taxes, Ellis stated.
“The $4.2 million is additional anticipated revenue from the public utility tax, which was billed late from the state of Georgia,” Brennan said. “So the revenue that was supposed to arrive in 2012 will be remitted in 2013 instead. There has been a change in state law to prevent this from happening again.”
“In considering these developments, I have taken into account our current economic climate, our critical priorities as outlined in our strategic plan, and the need to reduce the burden on the county’s citizens as much as possible while maintaining service delivery levels by the county,” Ellis said.
The Board of Commissioners must adopt the county’s budget by the end of February.
The Board of Commissioners’ finance, audit & budget Committee will hold a town hall on the proposed 2013 budget in the Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Dr., Decatur on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 6 p.m.