Yesterday, I received the latest mailer from Brookhaven Yes posing the question, what will happen in our new city of Brookhaven vs. staying under DeKalb? Here are the facts they don’t want you to consider:
The city of Brookhaven would be in a deficit from day one.
There is no surplus. The politicians pushing a city of Brookhaven know this, which is why they refuse to have the Carl Vinson Institute update the CVI study to give you, the voter honest and accurate information. The CVI study shows that even after raising your property taxes by $166 per $100,000 of assessed value, the city will be out of money on day one. And, property values are projected to continue falling through 2014, making it likely the new city council would have to raise taxes, cut services or both.
The $604 million question.
Brookhaven Yes is also stating that the proposed city would have a $604 million commercial tax base. What they don’t tell you is this revenue has already been factored in to the original CVI Study for Brookhaven, and given the decline in 2012 property tax revenue the CVI Study shows the city of Brookhaven will be operating in a deficit. Property taxes comprise almost 40 percent of revenue for the proposed city, and due to our lack of a large commercial tax base (Brookhaven is 27 percent, compared to Dunwoody’s 40 percent) the burden of paying for services falls squarely on the backs of homeowners in the form of higher property taxes.
Millage cap or not, your taxes will increase in the city of Brookhaven.
Unincorporated DeKalb County has the lowest tax burden in all of DeKalb County – even lower than Dunwoody. The politicians of Brookhaven Yes aren’t telling homeowners that they will raise your taxes by $166 per $100,000 of assessed value to pay for their city. By voting Yes, you are voting for higher property taxes in addition to new and increased taxes in the form of franchise fees.
Your family will not be safer when our police force is cut in half.
A city the size of Brookhaven should have a police force of at least 83 officers, but the proposed city can only afford 53 officers. Currently we pay for and receive the benefit of a fully equipped DeKalb County Police Department, with access to over 100 officers, specialized task force units and equipment such as helicopters. In the city of Brookhaven, taxpayers will pay more for a police force half the size we need.
In a city without enough money, the parks and roads budgets will be the first to be cut.
Given the decline in 2012 property taxes, the CVI Study shows that the city of Brookhaven will be operating at a deficit from day one. Without enough revenue, parks and roads budgets will be the first thing that gets cut. It’s that simple.
Paying more for more government is not fiscally conservative.
There will be a mayor, four council members, and a city manager in the new city. The politicians pushing a city of Brookhaven want you to raise your taxes so they can create another layer of government. In addition to five new politicians, there will be a city manager, finance department, human resource department, city clerk, buildings and leases, municipal court, attorneys, capital expenditures and equipment costs. DeKalb County already has all of these things and they won’t go away. You’ll just pay for them twice.
Vote NO to creating a city of Brookhaven.
Mary Ellen Imlay