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Decatur officials recommend unchanged tax
by Bridgette Bonner
bbonner@neighbornewspapers.com
May 29, 2013 10:50 AM | 1372 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Decatur City Commission last week recommended adopting an unchanged property tax, keeping the 2013 tax at 13 mills.

The tax is broken down into the following areas: general fund tax rate at 11.2 mills, bond fund at 1.42 mills and downtown development authority at .38 mills.

The 2013-14 budget, which commissioners will present at their June 6 meeting, recommends continuing all programs and activities, City Manager Peggy Merriss said. The proposed budget includes no employee furloughs, layoffs or salary or hiring freezes, Merriss said. Additional details will be released next month.

The budget includes input from all sectors of city employees.

Commissioners will present the budget in detail June 6, following a June 3 public hearing. Another pubic hearing and work session will occur June 17, prior to a vote the same day, and budget adoption.

The budget is available on the city’s website, www.decaturga.com, and viewers who wish to comment online rather than at the public hearings may do so.

Commissioners also heard citizens’ comments about increasing the parking lot at the Decatur Family YMCA. Parking studies and comments led to the commission’s decision to table voting on the issue until YMCA representatives place it back on the agenda.

Architects have been meeting with residents who live close to the YMCA on Clairemont Avenue to accommodate their concerns.

The city commission entertained a public hearing last Monday regarding zoning changes related to parking at the YMCA. Increasing the number of parking spaces would require rezoning two lots from residential to institutional, neighbors said. The YMCA owns the two lots that would need to be rezoned and renters live in the two homes.

Eve Maschinot, homeowner across the street from the YMCA on Maediris Drive, said she favors the organization being successful, but she is on the opposite side of them on the parking lot expansion. The additional spots may be just for convenience, she said.

“I keep wrestling with this as I think about the wonderful things the YMCA does for the community, but it sets a precedent for building by neighborhoods,” she said.

The motion to table the discussion followed commissioners expressing the same internal battle, many recognizing benefits of the YMCA, but also considering the stance the city took previously to protect residential properties.

Billy Holley, chief financial officer of Metro YMCAs said they want to continue to be a good neighbor and good part of the social fabric.

What's next?
The Decatur City Commission will host a public hearing June 3 and review the 2013-14 budget June 6. Another public hearing and work session will follow June 17.
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