DeKalb County will hold the line on its tax millage rate, but commissioners say there is work to be done.
For unincorporated areas of the county, the millage rate will stay at 21.21 mills, after a 4-2 vote by the county’s Board of Commissioners to approve the CEO Burrell Ellis’ adjusted budget. Commissioners Larry Johnson and Elaine Boyer voted against the budget.
When originally proposed by Ellis, the budget was $559 million, but has been reduced to $556 million.
Commissioner Lee May, who said he “begrudgingly” supports Ellis’ budget said, “Today indicates the reality that our system really is broken.”
“It’s difficult to implement some of the real changes….without there being WWIII,” May said.
May said commissioners have “some real difficult things” to do to have more control of the budget.
“We need to look at our form of government,” May said.
Commissioner Jeff Rader, who said he is concerned about the county’s level of reserved funds, said the county government has an “overemphasis in maintaining the status quo.”
The amount of reserves in the original budget was an “overstatement,” said Richard Stogner, the county’s chief operating officer.
The original budget anticipated $1 million from a hotel-motel tax increase. That increase did not get the support it needed to pass the state’s General Assembly. Also in the budget was $1.53 million in revenue from the county’s golf course funds. Those projections were later lowered.
“It’s not like we’re taking money out of the reserve,” Stogner said. “The money was never actually in the reserve in the first place.”
In April, Ellis instructed county department heads under his oversight to make plans to cut their budgets 3 percent this year and 5 percent next year.
“I do not think they will have a substantial impact on our operations this year,” Stogner said.