Dunwoody City Council has postponed a final vote on the city’s parks bond proposal until its July 25 meeting.
City officials want a referendum, which will ask Dunwoody residents to vote on the issuance of $33 million in general obligation bonds, to appear on the November ballot. The council will need to approve the referendum by the end of July in order for it to make it onto this year’s ballot.
Council members had several concerns about the bonds, which would be used to acquire land for city parks. It will equate to a 0.75 mill increase for taxpayers. One mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of the taxable value of a property.
In the future, a second $33 million bond issue will be put before voters to develop park land, city officials have said.
City Councilman Denis Shortal wanted to know what interest rate the city could expect if voters approve the bonds, which the city would be responsible for paying back over a 30-year period.
Finance Director Chris Pike estimated that the interest rate could be around 5 percent, but said there is no way to know in advance.
“Interest rates will change up until the hour we close,” Pike said.
Shortal also asked what would happen in the event that the city’s tax digest, or the value of all its taxable property, declines.
“The city is obligated to raise whatever funds necessary to pay off the debts on the bonds,” said City Manager Warren Hutmacher. “One way or another, they’ve got to get paid.”
Council members recognized that the city’s tax digest would realistically go up over time, even if growth remains slow. The council previously had agreed to be cautious by calculating the bond funding based on no growth in the tax digest.
City Councilman Danny Ross said he wanted city staff members to prepare numbers showing how various interest rates would affect the money the city could take in.
“We need to make sure we understand what we’re approving,” Ross said, before making the motion to defer the vote July 11.
The council voted unanimously to reconsider the bond referendum at its July 25 meeting.