DeKalb County residents fume over proposed tax hike

Carol Sbarge of Channel 2 Action News had this noon report on today’s hearing on a proposed tax increase in DeKalb County. It didn’t get a good reception:

And from my AJC colleague April Hunt:

One after another, residents demanded the County Commission not raise the tax rate 4.5 mills as advertised. That rate would increase taxes $93 a year for the average home in the county, which lost value, but could tack up to $451 a year for a home in which its value remained the same.

Instead, residents directed the county to think about cutting services and to definitely cut personnel.
“If you made a 40 percent cut in employees in this county, you wouldn’t miss a one of them,” said Blue Anderson, an insurance worker from Dunwoody. “You are going to have to cut.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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29 comments Add your comment


July 5th, 2011
1:59 pm

I guess DeKalb ain’t as liberal as was previously thought!


July 5th, 2011
2:22 pm

I can tell you that as a manager in DeKalb County government, I have already lost 4 employees through reallocation of resources to cover vacancies. My staff is lean and mean. I am getting by by the skin of my teeth.

Larry Durwood

July 5th, 2011
2:22 pm

Get used to this. The entrenched Democratic gov’t employees don’t want to cut anything. They want to maintain their entitlements off the back of the taxpayer. Taxpayers are going to have to fight back.


July 5th, 2011
2:29 pm

There are still many opportunities for DeKalb County to reduce expenses before it should even CONSIDER raising taxes.


July 5th, 2011
2:32 pm

We the people have less than we used to. Get over it! Our homes are worth less; you can hardly tax us more. It’s time for government in Dekalb and elsewhere to adjust to meet our means.
A report out today says that this is the slowest recovery since the great depression. No surprise here.

Tip of the iceberg

July 5th, 2011
2:34 pm

Dekalb is still fat and bloated in my eyes until they cut back sanitation services. Garbage pickup twice a week? Big luxury in this environment. Other counties contract this out…there is no reason why sanitation should be the second most expensive line item on my property tax bill, after education and before general funds


July 5th, 2011
3:03 pm

Does anyone really believe their home values did not decrease in value over the last two years?!!! Homes in North DeKalb that use to sell in 3 weeks time, now take a year or more to sale. Appraisers are clearly playing games, perhaps they are counting on inflation to cover their positions. It will not work, this recession is here to stay.


July 5th, 2011
3:42 pm

I am TOTALLY against DeKalb County raising property taxes! The value of my home has decreased by 85% and I do NOT want to pay more taxes. No! I would prefer for them to lay off their workers that are lazy and that do not follow rules or regulations! They should not go by seniority, but by human resources complaints and evaluations only! Lay off, but do NOT raise my property taxes! They are too high already. If anything they should decrease them. The ONLY section that they should not lay off is public safety and the library. Other than that, lay off workers!!!!


July 5th, 2011
3:44 pm

General funds is where they employees pay come out of. They need to cut back on that! Lay off…do NOT raise my property taxes! I’m TOTALLY against that!


July 5th, 2011
3:45 pm

I meant to say that general funds is where their employees pay comes out of, not they.


July 5th, 2011
3:52 pm

How many of you asking to layoff workers are employed by Dekalb County?

The county needs more revenue, finding tenants for these vacant school buildings is a good place to start, we are paying taxes on them already!


July 5th, 2011
4:07 pm

Ditto, @ Ricky…Or have friends or family working for DeKalb? If so, go to them TONIGHT and ask that they voluntarily resign, because you don’t want to pay higher taxes. Nah, better yet, don’t. Let them get a pink slip, it’ll be more devastating that way.

it is what it is and always was

July 5th, 2011
4:30 pm

Cobb County is weighing a straight-up tax increase that would exceed what the law provides for a “rollback,”. Isn’t Cobb county majority Republican? Aren’t the Republicans fighting against tax hikes and extensions? Hypocrites

Smoke Rise Taxpayer

July 5th, 2011
4:37 pm

It’s not that I don’t value the county employees and I hate to see anybody lose their job, but it’s just time to seriously prioritize and decide what we have to have and what we can do without. I want Public Safety fully funded, but I could do without Human Development. We need Voter Registration, but do we really need Cooperative Extension? What about Geographic Information System and DCTV. Why do we need Workforce Development when the state has Career Centers? I know all these things are nice to have, but it’s time for government to live within its means. I’ve had to cut some nice to have things out of my personal budget – why can’t the government do that? If I felt that the CEO and commissioners had truly cut everything that could be cut, I would be more open to a tax increase. But they’ve not demonstrated that to my satisfaction.

Tip of the iceberg

July 5th, 2011
4:40 pm

Well said, smoke rise…


July 5th, 2011
4:42 pm

Raise the taxes, pay your fees and shut up. It’s peanuts.


July 5th, 2011
5:08 pm

DeKalb is just a microcosm of what’s happing @ the national government level. They’re addicted to runaway spending and they want ever more tax revenue to play with. They’ll never have enough.

Good luck to DeKalb taxpayers, stand your ground and make government operate within its means.

Suduko Princess

July 5th, 2011
5:51 pm

What short memories we have here! The AJC reported that the CEO cut $100 million since he was elected, there was an early retirement program last year and the millage rate hasn’t increased in several years. I don’t like paying taxes either – but I like my neighborhood, my County and the public services it provides. So if the County leadership needs to raise taxes in order to continue these services – pls do so. When I want steak – a hamburger just doesn’t do it. I’m assuming all the “DON’T RAISE MY TAXES” are mostly retirees – since they are so swift to suggest laying off employees so they can save that extra $100. And the working individuals who say the same thing – your company could probably say the same thing about you – and can save your salary!

DeKalb taxpayer

July 5th, 2011
6:46 pm

It is typically the benefits that cost so much. Instead of laying off employees, I’d like to see Dekalb require employees to bear a larger portion of benefits and move all employees to a retirement program modeled off the current federal thrift savings plan where the employee has some “skin in the game” through actual contributions. The days when state and local governments can fund defined benefit retirement programs is long, long over. Look at the City of Atlanta.

Also, why in the world DO we have two garbage pickups a week? One is adequate in tight times.

Dekalb Resident

July 5th, 2011
9:23 pm

I’ve watched real estate values plummet nationwide since 2007. Dekalb’s government failed to take notice. I’ve seen Dekalb’s school board in nationwide scandal. Now this same group wants more money to run this sorry operation. No.

why now?

July 5th, 2011
11:19 pm

I have had my pay cut, I have to deal with extra work because my co-workers have been laid off. My vacation will consist of me on a ladder painting and trying to maintain my house. I don’t have extras and I really resent the taj mahal schools and the attitude that the county is entitled to tax me more because I live in a ‘nice’ neighborhood. Cut the staff in the CEO office and remove some of the layers of management. Cut the cell phones and county credit cards. Cut the county vehicles. If the school superintendent was using county credit cards to pay for family vehicles gas, I’ll bet others are doing it too! And along those lines – no more sweetheart deals for county staff. Cut the job guarantees – nobody else gets them!

why now?

July 5th, 2011
11:21 pm

And, by the way, what I recommend should be the NORM – not the response to lower revenues. It’s called being responsible and good stewardship.

pay up

July 6th, 2011
7:10 am

the county commissioners have a long list of stuff they want to “buy” with taxpayer money–time to pay up again—they have a lot of “friends” who want some of that taxpayer cash!!!

why now x 2

July 6th, 2011
12:23 pm

What “why now” says .. cut cut cut. So many of us are barely hanging on. If the county keeps taxing the crap out of us, they’ll be five homeowners left for them to tax! I’ve had to cut back, change work hours, get rid of cars, and do my own home repairs. The county employees have to wake up to reality. Everything else is on the table. And ABSOLUTELY NO COUNTY VEHICLES unless you are a cop, firefighter, sanitation worker, road worker or with the water department. Jeez people, buy your own Honda like the rest of us.


July 6th, 2011
2:39 pm

I agree with all of the comments related to getting rid of wasteful spending! I wasn’t a fan of scaling back trash pickup, but it seems like once a week is the norm, so I’m in favor of that! I agree with no county vehicles, too. And salary reductions (especially at the higher levels), at least UNTIL revenue picks back up…The county needs to attract, and not lose residents!


July 6th, 2011
4:13 pm

Interesting how I seem to remember them stating they would not artificially inflate home values to fatten their coffers, yet the value of my home (which is realistically MUCH LESS than last year’s assessment) went up by DOUBLE this year. Right. I’d like to see the look on a real estate agent’s face if I said I wanted to list my home for $280,000 in MY neighborhood…

Burroughston Broch

July 6th, 2011
6:53 pm

Incorporation of the City of Dunwoody is bleeding the bloated bureaucracy in Decatur. If Doraville and Chamblee annex additional areas then the bleeding will increase. The same thing is happening in Fulton County, and will accelerate when Milton County is revived.


July 8th, 2011
3:54 pm

What a joke.
In times like this you do not budget “sidewalk improvments” or “new police cars” or “a new swingset for a park”.
You cut this fluff out until times are good again.
WAKE UP, please.

If a corporation ever did this, their stock price would tank and everyone on the board would be fired.

So how can it be ok or allowed for a local gov to just raise taxes, instead of pay cuts, job cuts, and project cuts.

WAKE UP – use common sense – DO NOT RAISE TAXES in these hard times. You cut back like households and business do.
Gov employees are not above the law and must use common sense, please.


July 8th, 2011
4:19 pm


These Gov officials by continuing to raise taxes will make folks move out of town, and will reduce new folks moving in. So they will be making the problem worse. How can they not see this.

Be more efficient with our tax dollars, and innovate.
Do not just say “time to raise taxes” because it’s easy and I can.

Please stop wasting tax money, and make the people want to stay and support, not fight and leave.

Will my boss just give me $5,000 becuase I want to redo my bathroom – NO.
Can Coke just raise the price of a can by 50%, and expect the same happy customers, and keep Pepsi from gaining sales – NO.
So how can a Local Gov just raise taxes – it’s so wrong and broken.

CUT CUT CUT, until times are good again,
then SAVE SAVE SAVE for a rainy day.

Do more with less please.