To the Editor:
The city of Dunwoody has determined the 2018 millage rate and therefore property taxes for all real personal property located in the city limits of Dunwoody. The “Legal Notice” published in The Crier and other local newspapers proposed a 2.74 millage rate. With the adoption of this rate, the property tax revenue to be received by the city will be a windfall increase of $1,003,544 (or 13.45 percent) in property tax revenue.
The mayor wants you to think that the required legal notices that the city publishes and the mandatory public hearings are misleading and really not necessary since you are not getting a tax increase on your house and you are getting a “Good Deal” because your taxes are only $22 per month (based upon a house with a value of $400,000). They are wrong.
As clearly shown in the notice the property tax revenue that will be collected by the city for 2018 will be an increase of $1,003,544 a 13.45 percent increase from 2017) if the city does not roll back the proposed 2.74 millage rate. The windfall results from the annual revaluation of the property tax digest. Further, the same notice reveals that the city has collected a windfall of $1,801,000 (30.7 percent) in property taxes in the past five years. This windfall will become $2,805,000 (47.8 percent) if the proposed millage rate is not rolled back. A rollback to 2.42 mills for 2018 would result in property tax revenue of $7,462,338—the same revenue as the city will receive in the latest year of property taxes.
The 2.74 proposed millage rate has been in effect since Dunwoody became a city in December 2008. Unfortunately, the city charter neglected to mandate a millage rollback when windfall revenues are created by tax digest revaluations.
A couple of interesting facts. The population of Dunwoody has increased 12.5 percent between 2009 and 2018. The expense budget for the city was approximately $14 million in 2009 as compared to approximately $34 million in 2018 (a 143 percent increase).
I say its time for us require our elected representatives to hold the line on windfall tax revenues for the city and rollback the millage rate to 2.42 mills — a revenue neutral amount. While maybe not a violation of the letter of the law in the city charter , it is certainly not in the “Spirit” of what voters approved in 2008.
Contact your council member and mayor. Its time to speak.
To The Editor:
In the June 13 edition of The Crier, a school tax story said that critics of the school system’s approach of planning a budget and then setting a millage rate would argue that a government should estimate its revenues and then budget for them. That’s an interesting theory that simply doesn’t account for the needs of reality.
For example, by that logic, we could cut the budgets for police, fire, and EMS protection by half or more without regard to the needs of the community. Just imagine the savings!
The reality is that government must balance our collective needs and wants in the form of public services with a revenue model that doesn’t starve our economic engine. To paraphrase one of my favorite 20th century presidents, G. H. W. Bush, it’s simply “prudent” (what a great word!) to responsibly consider our community’s needs relative to our ability to pay for them. And there’s a strong feedback loop between needs and wants and ability to pay.
So if you want good schools nurturing an educated electorate, safe neighborhoods protected by police and firemen, and livable communities with roads and parks, then we need to decide how much those cost, whether or not (or how much) we’re willing to pay for them, and the impact of not paying for them or paying too much for them.
In other words, certain needs don’t vanish simply because we decide to not pay for them.
And after seeing the effects of a neighbor’s burning home igniting homes around it or the costs of an uneducated electorate on business, public safety, and our democracy, certain such arguments have long been settled for many of us.
Referencing the “proposed restaurant” pictured in Sue Stanton’s article on the front page of the June 13 edition of The Crier; Can everyone spell hideous?
Is the goal to render our main intersection even uglier? And, doing it at the behest of developers? Why is it, or so it seems, that the needs and wishes of our citizenry have taken a back seat to said developers? And, the same having occurred with great frequency and rapidity since we became a city?
One need only look to the razing and reducing of Dunwoody Village Parkway or the theater at Brook Run to get the queasy feeling that something is askew. That our major thoroughfares cross one another at the sites of a gas station/convenience store and a Dunkin’ Donuts on two of four corners is eyesore and safety problem enough. One supposes that the thinking, if thought was so impolite and impolitic to rear its ugly and inconvenient head, is that a fast-food establishment or three will solve those problems by erecting a structure that looks more like a prison and that will contribute nothing to that already-overused intersection but more over use.
This proposal needs to be shelved and the vacant lot turned into a little park.