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New “Pension Legacy” Tax Proposed – Urgent Legislative Alert – House Bill 711

Double Taxation – the fallacy of pension legacy costs.

I am writing to alert you to a potential property tax increase coming from the Georgia General Assembly.  House Bill 711, sponsored by Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Druid Hills), seeks to add a special tax district to cities formed after 2005.  Rep. Oliver believes that newly formed cities owe, what she refers to as, “pension legacy costs”.  The notion that these legacy costs exist is false and here’s why.

  1. Newly formed cities continue to pay fully into the General Fund and the Fire Fund. Embedded in these funds are the costs for benefits, including pensions for the employees providing these services.
  1. Newly formed cities continue to pay fully into the self-sustaining funds of Sanitation and Watershed. Embedded in these funds are the costs for benefits, including pensions for the employees providing these services.
  1. DeKalb County lowered the millage rate for the Police Fund (a fund newly formed cities do not pay into) in the 2015 budget.
  1. DeKalb County did not reform the pension benefit system until December 2015 – 7 years after the formation of Dunwoody.
  1. DeKalb County used unrealistic actuarial assumptions that negatively impacted funding.

If DeKalb County believed there was a crisis in the pension plan, chiefly driven by the new cities no longer paying into the police fund, why would the county lower the police fund millage rate in 2015?  If the county believed that the crisis was caused by newly formed cities, why did pension reform not occur until just a few months ago in December of 2015?

House Bill 711 is only directed at newly formed cities.  It is punitive, based on false assumptions, and is not congruent with the facts.  Make no mistake about it, it is a discriminatory tax aimed at Brookhaven and Dunwoody.  It is a bailout that would allow DeKalb County to continue poor fiscal management.  It creates a liability for new residents and business for a service they never received.  Imagine an entirely new property tax layered onto the commercial engine of the region – the Perimeter market – and the affect that would have on business, growth, and sales tax revenue to the county, schools, and state.  House Bill 711 is wrong and would have dire economic consequences for the region and state if passed.

*******

House Bill 711 is currently in the House Governmental Affairs Committee.  Here is a list of emails for the members of that committee and the committee staff.

bruce.williamson@house.ga.gov

tom.taylor@house.ga.gov

betty.price@house.ga.gov

jay.powell@house.ga.gov

alanpowell23@hotmail.com

mmo@mmolaw.com

howard.mosby@house.ga.gov

john.meadows@house.ga.gov

ronnie.mabra@house.ga.gov

eddie.lumsden@house.ga.gov

rusty.kidd@house.ga.gov

dustin.hightower@house.ga.gov

hughfloyd@mindspring.com

barry.fleming@house.ga.gov

amy.carter@house.ga.gov

darlene.taylor@house.ga.gov

buzz.brockway@house.ga.gov

erynders@bellsouth.net

craig.foster@house.ga.gov  (Policy Analyst)

michelle.spearman@house.ga.gov (Admin. Assistant)

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Understanding DeKalb’s Millage rate system

First, DeKalb County’s millage rate isn’t one millage rate that funds all aspects of the county.  DeKalb’s total millage rate is actually the sum of various component millage rates.  I often refer to these individual rates as “buckets”.  Here’s a list of some of the “buckets” for which you may pay a millage rate:

  1. General Fund – This funds services that are provided county-wide like the court system, sheriff, libraries, etc.. It is the largest fund and every resident in DeKalb, including all cities, pays the rate for this fund.
  1. Fire Fund – This funds the Fire Department that is used by the unincorporated parts of the county, as well as most of the cities, included Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Doraville, etc.
  1. Police Fund – This funds the DeKalb Police Department for unincorporated DeKalb and any city that elects to use this service.
  1. Roads and Drainage – This funds roads and drainage services to the county and any city that elects to use this county service.
  1. Parks and Recreation – This funds parks and recreation services to the county and any city that elects to use this county service.
  1. There are also debt service rates that are apportioned county-wide and otherwise pursuant to their issuance.
  1. House Bill 711 proposes to add a new “bucket” that would be filled only by cities formed after 2005.

Sanitation and watershed services are self-sustaining and charge a fee-for-service for unincorporated county residents as well as residents of cities.  Newly formed cities have all continued using DeKalb as their sanitation service provider.  Water is only provided by the county so all cities use, and pay, for this service.

Planning and Sustainability is a self-sustaining, fee-for-service fund that provides the plan review services to residents and builders who need permits.  This area also handles business licensing services.  Dunwoody and Brookhaven now provide this service as a city.

Since the incorporation of Dunwoody and Brookhaven, residents of these cities have continued to pay fully into the General Fund, the Fire Fund, the appropriate debt service, and they continue to pay into the self-sustaining funds of sanitation and watershed.  So, the only services that these cities no longer receive, or pay for, from the county that are funded by property tax millage rates are: (1) Police, (2) Roads and drainage, and (3) Parks and Recreation.

 

 

 

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Board of Commissioners Meeting Agenda for July 12, 2015

DEKALB COUNTY GEORGIA
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
REGULAR MEETING
JULY 14, 2015

A. INSPIRATIONAL ………………………………………………………. Dr. Jim Higgins, Senior Pastor
First United Methodist Church – Tucker

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE                                                        Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, District 4

B. PRESENTATIONS …………………………………….. DeKalb County Honors Michael L. Thurmond

C. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
The Public Comments portion of this meeting is reserved exclusively for comments from the public, and not for immediate reply. Statements made during the Public comments portion do not necessarily reflect the Opinions of the Board or the Administration of DeKalb County Government. The purpose of public comment is to allow the public to voice county-related requests, concerns or opinions during the public comment portion of the Commission meeting. Individual speakers will only have the opportunity for one public comment per meeting. Prior to speaking, each speaker must please complete a speaker card and present it to the clerk before the beginning of the public comment portion of the meeting. The clerk will accept cards on a first come first served basis. Speakers who are residents of DeKalb County shall be allowed to speak before residents of other counties are allowed to speak. Once the public comment portion of the meeting begins, speaker cards will no longer be accepted. Speakers will be allowed to speak for three minutes each and public comment shall not exceed 30 minutes in length. When the buzzer sounds to indicate that time has run out, the speaker will be expected to immediately cease speaking and to yield the podium. Those who submitted speaker cards but did not speak because of the time allotment, will be allowed to speak first at the next regularly scheduled commission meeting without regard to residence. For more information about scheduling this opportunity, please speak with a member of the Clerk’s staff. If you would like to fill out a written comment concerning county-related service complaints, this will help the governing authority to forward the complaints to the appropriate department for follow up. When speaking, always talk directly into the microphone and begin by stating your name, full address and the name of any organization you represent. Abusive, profane or derogatory language will not be permitted. Holding up signs, clapping and yelling to show support for or opposition to a speaker will not be permitted, but a show of hands or quietly standing will be permitted to show support for or opposition to a speaker’s position.

D. 10:00 A.M. PUBLIC HEARING
Citizens may speak for or against an item that is considered by law to be a zoning ordinance and each side will have ten minutes to presents its case. Citizens may also speak for or against an item that is placed on the public hearing agenda but is not a zoning ordinance. In that case, each side will have five minutes to present its case. In the event there is more than one speaker per side, speakers must divide their time in order to complete their full presentation within the ten-minute time allotment, or the five-minute time allotment. When the buzzer sounds to indicate that time has run out, the speaker will be expected to immediately cease speaking and to leave the podium area. Prior to speaking, please complete a speaker card and present it when approaching the podium. If you have any documents for the Commissioners, please provide 10 copies when approaching the podium. Seven copies are for the Commissioners and the remaining copies are for the planning director, the county attorney and the clerk. Applicants or citizens speaking in favor of an item shall speak first and applicants in zoning ordinance cases shall have the right to reserve time for rebuttal. Opponents of a zoning ordinance item shall have no right of rebuttal. Once the citizens have finished speaking, staff shall make a recommendation for action to the commission. At this point, citizens are no longer allowed to speak unless called to the podium by an individual commissioner to answer questions or provide information. When speaking, always talk directly into the microphone and begin by stating your name, address and the name of any organization you represent. Abusive, profane or derogatory language will not be permitted. Holding up signs, clapping and yelling to show support for or opposition to a speaker will not be permitted, but a show of hands or quietly standing will be permitted to show support for or opposition to a speaker’s position.

CEO

D1. 2015 Budget Revision, Ad Valorem Tax Millage Rates (Accepted to the Regular BOC
Meeting Agenda; Deferred from the 6/23/15 Regular BOC Meeting)

CEO and Board of Commissioners
D2. Home Rule Ordinance to Amend the Pension Code of DeKalb County, Georgia, 1962 Ga.
Laws 3088, as Amended, to Change Employee Pension Contribution Rates Effective
January 1, 2016; Set the Pension Benefit Level for Future Employees Hired On or After
January 1, 2016; and Make Other Clarifying Changes (Accepted to the Regular BOC
Meeting Agenda; Deferred from the 6/23/15 Regular BOC Meeting – for public hearing)
Planning & Sustainability – All Districts

D3. Text Amendment – TA-13-18557 –Adoption of 2015 Zoning Code, Zoning Map, Home
Rule Ordinance and Enforcement Resolution (Deferred from 5/28/13, 6/25/13, 8/27/13,
11/19/13, 2/25/14, 3/25/14, 5/27/14, 7/22/14, 9/23/14, 1/13/15, 1/27/15 for a public
hearing; Substitute deferred from the 3/24/15 BOC Rezoning Meeting; Substitute deferred
from the 4/28/15 Regular BOC Meeting; Substitute deferred from the 5/12/15 Regular
BOC Meeting)

Planning & Sustainability – Districts 2 & 6
D4. Special Land Use Permit, SLUP-15-19771 Cliff Valley School (Deferred from the 5/26/15
BOC Rezoning Meeting – for decision only; Substitute deferred from the 6/9/15 Regular
BOC Meeting – for public hearing)

Planning & Sustainability – Districts 3 & 6
D5. Rezoning , Z-15-19586 John and Kim Osignuga (Deferred from the 5/26/15 BOC Rezoning
Meeting – for decision only; Deferred from the 6/9/15 Regular BOC Meeting – for public
hearing)

E. APPEALS
E1. NONE

F. APPOINTMENTS
CEO
F1. Appointment to the Historic Preservation Commission – Ms. Courtney E. Lankford
(Accepted to the Regular BOC Meeting Agenda; Assigned to the Planning & Economic
Development Committee)

F2. Appointment to the Historic Preservation Commission – Ms. Deb Watts (Accepted to
the Regular BOC Meeting Agenda; Assigned to the Planning & Economic Development
Committee)

F3. Reappointment to the Historic Preservation Commission – Ms. Lydia Atubeh (Accepted
to the Regular BOC Meeting Agenda)

G. CONSENT AGENDA
County Clerk
G1. Approval of Minutes of the Regular Meeting of May 26, 2015 (Accepted to the Regular
BOC Meeting Agenda)

G2. Approval of Minutes of the Zoning Meeting of May 26, 2015 (Accepted to the Regular
BOC Meeting Agenda)

G3. Approval of Minutes of the Regular Meeting of June 9, 2015 (Accepted to the Regular
BOC Meeting Agenda)

DEMA
G4. Grant Acceptance – 2011 Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) MOU, Homeland
Security Grant Program/Georgia Emergency Management Agency (Accepted to the
Regular BOC Meeting Agenda)

Fire Rescue
G5. Acceptance of a Donation in the Amount of $2,000.00 to DeKalb County Fire Rescue
From Dunwoody Rotary Charitable Fund for the Purpose of Purchasing two High Rise
Kits (Accepted to the Regular BOC Meeting Agenda)

GIS – Commission Districts 2 & 6
G6. Amended Telecommunications Easement Agreement – BellSouth Telecommunications,
LLC, d.b.a. AT&T Georgia – Tax Parcel 18 100 03 010 (Accepted to the Regular BOC
Meeting Agenda)

Purchasing & Contracting
G7. Approve the Continuation of the Following Positions: Procurement Technician (4);
Procurement Agent/Sr. (8); Contract Compliance Officer, Sr. (3); Auditor, Sr. (3) and
(1) Procurement Deputy Director formerly Special Projects Manager (Accepted to the
Regular BOC Meeting Agenda)

Superior Court/Drug Court
G8. Criminal Justice Coordinating Council Supplemental Transportation Grant (Accepted to
the Regular BOC Meeting Agenda)

H. PRELIMINARY ITEMS
Purchasing and Contracting

H1. Purchasing (Low Bidder)
LB1. Maintenance and Repair of Overhead Doors (Annual Contract with 2 Options to
Renew): Invitation No. 15-100474 for use by Public Works – Fleet Management,
Department of Watershed Management, Facilities Management and Fire Rescue
Services. Amount Not to Exceed: $145,000.00 (Accepted to the Regular BOC
Meeting Agenda; Assigned to the Finance, Audit & Budget Committee)

LB2. Pest Control Services (Annual Contract with 2 Options to Renew): Invitation No.
3003380 for use by the Department of Facilities Management. Amount Not To
Exceed: $190,000.00 (Accepted to the Regular BOC Meeting Agenda; Assigned to
the Finance, Audit & Budget Committee)

LB3. Inspection and Testing of Water Based Fire Protection Systems for use by Public
Works – Sanitation. Amount Not to Exceed: $140,000.00 (Accepted to the Regular
BOC Meeting Agenda; Assigned to the Finance, Audit & Budget Committee)

Purchases (Renewal)
R1. Water and Wastewater Treatment Chemicals (Annual Contract- 1st Renewal):
Invitation No. 3003062 for use by the Department of Watershed Management.
Total Amount Not to Exceed: $2,420,000.00 (Accepted to the Regular BOC
Meeting Agenda; Assigned to the Finance, Audit & Budget Committee)
Purchases (Request for Proposal)

RFP1. Implementation Services for Oracle Advanced Procurement Suite: Request for
Proposal No. 15-500341 for Information Technology to be used by the Department
of Purchasing and Contracting. Amount Not To Exceed: $1,824,232.00 (Accepted
to the Regular BOC Meeting Agenda; Assigned to the Finance, Audit & Budget
Committee)

I. ITEMS FOR DECISION BY THE BOARD
Board of Commissioners – District 4
I1. Auditor Investigator to Serve with the Office of the Internal Auditor (Accepted
to the Regular BOC Meeting Agenda; Normal Coursed from the 2/10/15
Regular BOC Meeting; Deferred from the 2/24/15, 3/24/15 & 4/28/15 Regular
BOC Meetings)

Purchasing and Contracting
I2. Purchases (Extensions)
EXT2. Concrete Forming, Placing, Finishing and Retainer Walls (Annual Contract – 2nd
Extension): Invitation No. 3002609 for use by the Department of Watershed
Management, Public Works – Sanitation Division, and Recreation, Parks and
Cultural Affairs. Total Amount Not to Exceed: $2,760,000.00 (Accepted to the
Regular BOC Meeting Agenda; Assigned to the Finance, Audit & Budget
Committee; Deferred from the 6/9/15 Regular BOC Meeting)

Purchases (Rescission)
R1. Rental Uniforms for DeKalb County (Annual Contract with 2 Options to Renew):
Invitation No. 3003299 for use by the Department of Watershed Management
(Accepted to the Regular BOC Meeting Agenda; Assigned to the Finance, Audit &
Budget Committee; Deferred from the 6/9/15 Regular BOC Meeting)

Purchases (Change Order)
CO1. Change Order No. 1 to Contract No. 14-902920 for Waterline Replacement, Group
3: for use by the Department of Watershed Management. Amount Not to Exceed:
$481,046.57 (Accepted to the Regular BOC Meeting Agenda; Assigned to the
Finance, Audit & Budget Committee; Deferred from the 6/9/15 Regular BOC
Meeting)

J. COMMENTS FROM THE BOARD
POLICY OF NON-DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF DISABILITY IN COUNTY SERVICES.
DeKalb County Government does not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities or exclude them from participating in or
receiving benefits of its services, programs, or activities, based on disability. Alfred Elder, DeKalb County Government’s Employee Relations
Manager and ADA Coordinator, is designated to coordinate the County’s compliance with Part 35 of the Department of Justice regulations
regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act. Alfred Elder may be contacted at 1300 Commerce Drive, 1st Floor, Decatur, GA 30030, (404)
687-4007, to request information about access for persons with disabilities to County services, programs and activities, or to discuss a
grievance regarding an impediment to such access. Ten days notice is requested for special accommodations.