DeKalb Commissioners Unanimously Approve Midyear Budget

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved CEO Michael Thurmond’s Fiscal Year 2019 midyear budget.

“This rare unanimous vote proves the CEO has built common ground with the Board of Commissioners to provide the necessary services and improve the quality of life for the residents of DeKalb,” Commissioner Larry Johnson said.

DeKalb County’s Fiscal Year 2019 midyear operating budget is $1.3 billion and projects an end-of-year tax fund balance, or rainy-day fund, of $110 million. This amount will cover county operations for 2.02 months.

“I would like to thank the Board of Commissioners for working together to provide unprecedented tax relief for DeKalb County property owners,” CEO Thurmond said.

Commissioner Jeff Rader, presiding officer of the Board of Commissioners, said, “I am gratified that the process yielded a unanimous vote after committee review. I am pleased to have contributed toward the rollback of the countywide millage rate.”

The adopted budget includes rolling back the Combined Countywide Operational rate, from 10.364 mills in Fiscal Year 2018 to 9.952 mills in Fiscal Year 2019, reducing the rate by 0.412 mills. The projected value of the millage rate rollback is $12 million, which will provide a property tax reduction of $41.20 on properties valued at $250,000. The benchmark millage rate for unincorporated DeKalb will remain at 20.81 mills. 

“DeKalb residents should know the progress the Board of Commissioners and CEO Thurmond have made in adopting and implementing best practices and prudent financial management,” said Commissioner Nancy Jester. “The most impressive result of this improved financial management is that the CEO recommended, and the Board approved, millage rates that are below the 2019 rollback rate. This is an important accomplishment in the ongoing improvements that are being made to DeKalb's fiscal health." 

In addition to the millage rates rollback, DeKalb homeowners will also benefit from $119 million in property tax relief generated by the Equalized Homestead Option Sales Tax Credit (EHOST). The EHOST tax credit will deliver an average tax cut of $889 to owners of homes valued at $250,000.

DeKalb County’s Fiscal Year 2019 midyear budget includes the following adjustments:

  • Fire Rescue: $576,456 for partial year funding of 20 paramedic positions to staff three ambulance units to be deployed throughout the county; a net increase of $633,603 to fund maintenance and repair at fire stations, medical supplies, and six vehicles for new fire inspector positions.

  • Parks and Recreation: $733,890 for additional landscape and path maintenance, expansion of the youth STEAM program, and the development of a ten-year parks master plan.

  • Beautification and Code Compliance: Beautification and Code Compliance will become standalone budget units. An additional $275,000 was recommended for Beautification to service 36 new locations from September to December.

  • DeKalb Emergency Management Agency: $92,393 for funding of additional personnel.

  • 311 Citizen Help Center: $69,273 for partial year funding of additional full-time customer service representatives due to increased call volumes.

  • Facilities Management: $1.1 million for facilities repairs and maintenance.