Confusion in a state bill that could potentially raise property taxes in DeKalb County has prompted Brookhaven city officials to request the Board of Commissioners to reject putting a Special Local Option Sales Tax and Equalized Homestead Optional Sales Tax on the November ballot.

Mayor John Ernst issued a statement July 19, shortly before the BOC was expected to vote on the SPLOST and E-HOST measures, urging them to not support placing the initiatives on the ballot this November.

“After conferring with my colleagues on City Council, Brookhaven has sent a message to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners urging commissioners not support placing SPLOST and E-HOST on the November ballot,” Ernst said in a statement.

“Considerable concern has been raised over the past few days regarding language contained in House Bill 596. This bill, if approved by voters, would serve to suspend the DeKalb Homestead Valuation Freeze if SPLOST and E-HOST are also approved by voters in November,” Ernst said.

“While most citizens of Brookhaven would have gotten a net tax decrease, the poorly written legislation did not give clarity on the effects,” he said. “In light of those concerns and in an abundance of caution, the city of Brookhaven urges the Board of Commissioners to reject the referendum.”

Ernst also said regardless of the vote, Brookhaven property owners “can rest assured that the Intergovernmental Agreement will not enforce without the support of all affected cities.”

All cities were asked to enter into an IGA with DeKalb County to show support for putting the sales tax increase on the November ballot.

On Monday, the Dunwoody City Council left in place its deferral on a vote to support SPLOST and E-HOST due to the confusing language in HB 596. A section of the bill the homestead exemption “shall be tolled” — that essentially erases the current property tax freeze that has been in effect in DeKalb for 10 years. The Dunwoody City Council is the only council that did not vote to approve the IGA with DeKalb County to support the sales tax increases.

The Brookhaven City Council voted in support of the IGA at its July 12 meeting.

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.