The city of Dunwoody proposes reducing its 2021 budget by about 4% due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impacts. The city proposes keeping the property tax rate the same for now, but says that might have to change if revenue troubles continue.
The current property tax millage rate is 1.74 for homestead properties and 2.74 for other properties.
“While having this low a tax rate has been a matter of pride for many years, the city must revisit this decision, especially in light of reductions in businesses licenses, commercial property values and hotel/motel taxes,” a city memo reads.
The City Council is set to vote on the $24.5 million budget, which spans the calendar year, at its Oct. 26 meeting. For a full version of the proposed budget, click here.
The city says the pandemic has reduced the revenue from the commercial tax base. The city relies on commercial taxes to keep property taxes at lower rates. In August, the city also cut the 2020 budget by 4%, or $1 million, to cope with losses in revenue.
“Revenue looks more like 2011 than what we would have expected in 2021,” City Manager Eric Linton said in a press release. “Reductions occurred in almost every department. However, reductions were done through an internal line-by-line review process and not by across-the-board cuts.”
The city is expected to end 2020 with six months of reserve funds and end 2021 with four months of reserve funds, according to a city memo. The city is starting the year with about $4.5 million less than in 2020, according to city documents.
Mayor Lynn Deutsch said in a press release the budget is balanced because of the city’s reserve funds.
“That is what they are there for — to help when disaster hits,” Deutsch said in the release. “However, this budget is the warning sign that our revenue base is fragile. Moving forward, the City Council and I will continue monitoring the situation and studying options.”
Deutsch and city staff submitted the proposal to the city Budget Committee for review at the end of August. The committee kept the budget mostly the same but made a few minor changes, including eliminating two printed quarterly “Dunwoody Digest” publications in favor of online-only versions.
Residents are encouraged to comment on the budget by emailing the mayor or council members, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or speaking at the next council meeting.