DUNWOODY, Ga. — In a unanimous move April 13, the Dunwoody City Council voted to waive any penalties or interest related to occupational taxes and business licenses until the coronavirus crisis has passed.
Occupational taxes are ordinarily due on Jan. 1 of each year, with penalties accruing after April 15, Finance Director Linda Nabers explained.
“That date is approaching,” Nabers said. “We are recommending that those penalties and interests are waived until the emergency is over.”
Following a suggestion from Mayor Lynn Deutsch, those penalties will not be enforced until 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted.
“If we have businesses that literally have not been operating or that have been operating at a much lower rate than normal, it seems to me that we would need to give them time and extend it beyond the emergency,” Deutsch said.
The city has also waived the requirements for a notary on renewal applications for occupational tax and business licenses. Business owners will need to follow up with a notarized application after the emergency has lapsed.
At the same virtual meeting, the council made an adjustment to the 2019 budget. Though the fiscal year ended December 21, 2019, final changes needed to be made to end the year with a balanced budget, Nabers said.
The adjustments totaled $1.8 million. The largest change came from grants the city received from the state to cover transportation projects, about $1.1 million in additional revenue and expenditures.
The council unanimously declared a state of emergency March 18. Under the provisions of the city emergency act, essential services like police and public safety continue, but much of the city’s normal business is on hold or is being conducted online only.
Under the state of emergency, the City Council may continue to conduct meetings via public teleconference, but business is limited to policymaking directly related to COVID-19, public health and safety or fiscal operations.
Long-term planning, zoning, policymaking unrelated to public health, presentations and proclamations have been suspended until the city is no longer in a state of emergency. City boards, like the Planning Commission or Sustainability Committee, are not meeting.
All matters requiring a public hearing are on hold. Any permits currently in effect that require a public hearing for renewal or extension, such as an alcohol permit, will not lapse and will be extended until public hearings are resumed.
The city closed City Hall to the public March 14. Non-essential staff are working remotely. Check the city’s website, dunwoodyga.gov, for a full run down of how government operations have been impacted.
“Obviously the measures we’re taking to slow and stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus are things that none of us could have imagined even just a few months ago,” Councilman Tom Lambert said.
Lambert gave a shout out to high school seniors and said the city is working for a way to celebrate those soon-to-be graduates.