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Brookhaven approves its first budget at $16.4 million
by Noreen Cochran
March 27, 2013 02:14 PM | 2054 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
City of Brookhaven taxpayers might have lower property taxes than they anticipated once the DeKalb County tax assessor mails out bills later this year.

That was the message from the Brookhaven City Council during discussions leading up to a unanimous approval of its inaugural $16.4 million budget during its regular meeting Tuesday.

It includes a millage rate of 3.35, the maximum permitted in the city charter.

The millage rate will be set when DeKalb County completes its tax digest in June.

Mayor J. Max Davis said a $5 million contingency fund may be applied to next year’s reserves or used to roll back taxes.

“The millage rate will go down,” he said.

Revenue includes $1.3 million in franchise fees, which is more than double what was paid by utility companies when the area was unincorporated.

“The city will get more in return than what the rate payers are putting into it,” said Interim Finance Director Chris Pike.

Pike told the council this is not the last look they will take at the financials.

“This is a fluid document,” he said. “Over the course of the year you will encounter unanticipated needs and amend this budget, as you will with all budgets. But this is the first.”

An anticipated budget item is the setup of a police department, for which the city has set aside $2.6 million.

The city is finalizing its choice of a police chief, spokeswoman Megan Matteucci said after the meeting.

She circulated a letter from District 80 State Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven, to Attorney General Sam Olens protesting the county’s transfer of funds from public safety to its general fund.

Currently, the city is served by the DeKalb County Police Department.

Jacobs argued that the transfer, done without public hearings, constitutes a tax increase.

Davis said he hoped to have the matter resolved by the summer.

He also said an anonymous campaign, claiming taxes will go up, is wrong.

“No one’s trying to change our cap. People will pay the same as in DeKalb County or less,” Davis said.

Other expenditures are $4 million for finance and administration, $1.8 million for public works, $1.4 million for community development, $428,000 for parks and recreation, $630,000 for municipal court and $1.1 million for the city council, manager, clerk and attorney.

Revenue includes $13 million in property taxes.

Fiscal 2014 will have more revenue, Pike said, because the city is not drawing from a full year of revenue in fiscal 2013, which ends Dec. 31.

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