The recommendation factored in the loss of revenue from the declining real estate values, municipal annexations and the incorporation of Brookhaven. Real estate values in unincorporated DeKalb have declined 49 percent since 2008, and declined 25 percent in cities. The incorporation of Brookhaven reduced revenue projections for 2013 by $25 million.
“The 2013 executive budget recommendation is the result of a very thorough, deliberative and participatory process between our administration, department directors and the Board of Commissioners,” said Ellis.
The Tax Funds portion of the recommendation totals $562.7 million, and provides funding for 25 additional police officers; a 3 percent living wage increase to employees earning less than $37,731 per year; enhancements in customer service and technology improvements and maintains a budgetary reserve of $30 million.
“The recession has placed a tremendous hardship on working families,” said Ellis. “County employees, in particular, have seen their healthcare costs and pension contributions increase, and their take-home salaries reduced, while receiving no cost-of-living adjustments. While we cannot yet give an increase to all employees, we can address the employees who have been most adversely impacted over the years.”
The recommendation also includes a proposed increase in the millage rate of 1.69 mills. On a $200,000 home at an average decline, and assuming the HOST exemption is the same in 2013, the impact of the millage increase would be $4.04 per month.