City News

City’s 2019 Budget Jumps $2.5 Million Without a Tax Increase

Stonecrest, GA – "Zero tax increase, just as we promised," was Mayor Jason Lary's mantra yesterday as he and the City Council approved a $9,168,400 budget during a special called meeting. The new budget's bottom line represents more than a $2.5 million, or 41% revenue increase over the 2018 budget primarily due to the city's ability to now receive a state insurance premium tax. The tax will not affect residents nor businesses in the area. Municipalities receive the tax from the state for property, casualty, and life insurance policies purchased by those within the city.

The 2019 budget outlines a plan to hire one part-time and seven full-time employees, including a procurement officer, a code enforcement officer, a right of way field services manager, three parks and recreation employees, and an administrative assistant. "Department directors made presentations to the mayor and council and were successful in getting line items added for an economic development plan, Municode software to codify the city's ordinances and make them easily accessible, a new website, and area beautification to name a few," Mayor Jason Lary said.

The city will also expand to include three new departments - Business Development, Parks and Recreation, and Community and Cultural Affairs. The Public Works Department will expand services to include a right of way maintenance department that will keep the lawns on our city's thoroughfares maintained and clean.

"We went from a $6.4 million budget to a $9.1 million budget without a tax increase and the city can still boast about our zero-millage rate. As promised, the extra revenue came from insurance premiums and an increase in revenue received from business license fees that DeKalb couldn't collect," the mayor said. The city's business license revenue was increased by the addition of 536 new businesses and the auditing work of code enforcement officers, who investigated 170 businesses for 2018 license renewals. More than half of them complied and renewed their licenses, according to Code Enforcement Manager, Alejandro Ferrell. The remaining 170 had closed or moved. "Our city is growing, and we are the most reasonable and largest city in DeKalb to live. In 2019, we will continue to keep our promises of fiscal responsibility as we continue to operate and grow as a world-class city," Mayor Lary added.

The council passed the budget by a four-to-one vote.

In the photo (l-r) Front: Michael Harris, City Manager, Mayor Jason Lary; Rear:Councilmembers George Turner, Jimmy Clanton and Robert Turner.In the photo (l-r) Front: Michael Harris, City Manager, Mayor Jason Lary; Rear:Councilmembers George Turner, Jimmy Clanton and Robert Turner.