DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — DeKalb County commissioners unanimously approved CEO Michael Thurmond’s proposed $1.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2020, which projects a $113.3 million rainy-day fund and prioritizes enhancements to public safety.
“The budget reaffirms our commitment to fiscal integrity, accountability and improved service delivery,” Thurmond said at the Feb. 25 meeting. “I appreciate the support of Presiding Officer Steve Bradshaw, the Board of Commissioners and staff who worked to develop this budget, which is the result of prudent decision-making and collaboration.”
The budget prioritizes public safety spending, including pay increases and enhancements to reduce homicides and protect the public. To fund gang violence prevention initiatives, $300,000 was directly transferred from Thurmond’s office budget.
The Police Department will receive $194,000 to fund training in gang violence prevention strategies, acquire technology to process and analyze data from cell phones, and hire a crime analyst assigned to the Gang Unit to review and interpret crime trends and intelligence gathered in criminal investigations.
The District Attorney’s Office will receive $303,000 to hire an intelligence data analyst, an additional attorney and an investigator to supplement the Major Crimes Unit. This proposal also funds technology to analyze cell phones and computers that will allow the District Attorney’s Office to create a digital crime lab on par with state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Understanding that violence prevention requires partnerships and a holistic approach, DeKalb public safety personnel will receive an across-the-board 4 percent pay increase. The increase is valued at $5.4 million and applies to approximately 2,300 employees, including police officers, firefighters, code enforcement officers, 911 operators, sheriff’s deputies and detention officers, and solicitor-general and district attorney investigators. This is the fourth public safety pay increase since 2017.
Other budget initiatives include:
• A 2 percent raise for all other DeKalb County employees and an adjustment for county retirees
• Continued funding for Operation Clean Sweep, to continue eradicating blight and beautifying the county through initiatives such as demolitions, abatements and bus stop cleanups
• Funding to the DeKalb County Department of Health to improve child wellbeing by expanding access to resources that offer children and families support
• Funding for the Sanitation Division to upgrade citizens’ garbage containers to 95 gallons, ensuring residents have enough capacity and eliminating unsightly over-filled trash bins.
• The budget also increases the salaries of commercial driver’s license certified employees to recruit and retain sanitation truck drivers.