To the Editor:

I want to clarify some important information regarding Dunwoody real estate taxes, the city millage rate and the recent real estate valuations. Keep in mind the below discussion is related to Dunwoody city real estate taxes only.

Each year, real estate valuations and annual assessments of property are performed by DeKalb County for homeowners and businesses in Dunwoody. Due to a growing economy, positive market and new construction, this has created an increase in the city’s tax digest (the report that shows how much tax is levied in the tax district/city.) It’s also important to know the city does not have direct control or influence over the valuations of the tax assessor’s office.

Because of this increase in the city’s tax digest, state law requires the city to issue a specifically worded notification, hold three public hearings to receive comment from taxpayers on this subject, and then vote on the city’s millage rate for real estate.

This wording or the notification required by the state is oftentimes confusing and may lead to a belief of an effort by the city to raise the tax millage rate, which is not the case. The city has maintained a millage rate of 2.74 mills since incorporation in 2008.

For residents who own and live in their home the tax millage rate is 1.74 mills. This is due to the one (1) mill exemption that is granted to Dunwoody homeowners. This is one of the lowest millage rates within the immediate Atlanta metro area.

Dunwoody homeowners who filed and qualified for a homestead exemption will pay no more in city taxes than the amount paid in 2009 based on the residential property assessment freeze exemption effective since the city’s inception. The only exceptions to this would be if you built additions to your home or purchased a new home since 2009. In the case of purchasing a new home your purchase price will be used to determine property assessment.

Just for an approximate figure, if you have applied for the homestead exemption, and if your home has a 2018 “Fair Market Value” of $400,000, your city tax would be approximately $260. If the “Fair Market Value” is $561,000 your city tax would be approximately $320.

The city remains committed to prudent and conservative spending of tax dollars and has devoted resources to projects which residents want and need. The primary sources of this spending are paving and infrastructure, parks and maintaining public safety through support of our police department.

If anyone has questions or would like to discuss this further, please contact me via email at or call me at City Hall at 678-382-6700.

Denny Shortal

Mayor of Dunwoody

To the Editor:

The decision to change or abandon the Dunwoody Village overlay district should be a city-wide discussion. It should not be altered by the bastardization of the current zoning code to appease one developer.

For those who may not remember or did not realize because they were not involved prior to cityhood, the Dunwoody Village Overlay served a purpose.  It protected residential Dunwoody from the insane commercial development of the ‘70s, ‘80s. It set the image of a small town community that was being threatened by the explosion at the Perimeter. It also gave us an identity, something that made us different from Roswell Road, Buford Highway and Peachtree Industrial Blvd. It took a collection of residential subdivisions and gave them a focus. It painted the seed for the city of Dunwoody

Though the expression may be over used and sound trite, the Village, because of the overlay became the heart of Dunwoody.

Should it be changed? Should it be updated? That is not a decision I have to make. However to change the zoning code by the use of SLUP’s for one particular developer is wrong and probably, based on my experience, illegal. We are not talking sidewalk widths, landscaping, signage or the design of windows and doors, but changing the fundamental criteria in the district.

You want change? Do it the right way and revised the code, change the law after you know what the residents really want.

I have my opinion and it might surprise a bunch of folks to hear it.

Bob Lundsten

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Send your letters to the Editor to thecrier@mindspring.com

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