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Dunwoody hosts hearing on millage rate increase

DUNWOODY, Ga. — Homeowners and businesses may see a millage rate increase as the Dunwoody City Council contemplates squaring up a $2 million budget deficit.

That was the focus of a public hearing held on June 17 at City Hall. Two additional hearings are scheduled for July 11, one at 8 a.m. and the final at the evening council meeting.

Residents were given 20 minutes of comment with time split between those in favor of and those opposed to the measure. Three residents spoke against the rate increase and two spoke in favor. One resident provided arguments for and against the plan.

Dunwoody Millage Rate increase

Residents listen as the Dunwoody City Council conducts the first of three public hearings June 17 on a proposal to increase the millage rate by 0.3 points to 3.04 mills. The remaining hearings are scheduled for July 11.

The millage rate has remained unchanged at 2.74 since Dunwoody incorporated as a city in July 2008. The council is scheduled to vote on July 11 whether to raise the rate to 3.040 mills, which is the cap established at incorporation.

The 0.3 mill increase is expected to yield more than one million dollars in additional revenue, some of it tasked to lower the budget deficit.

Between $250,000 and $275,000 of the new revenue would go toward pay raises for the Dunwoody Police Department. The pay would be backdated to be effective July 1.

Assistant City Manager J. Jay Viniciki delivered a presentation that provided several estimates on the impact to homeowners, including those benefiting from homestead exemptions.

Those who own their residence are eligible to take advantage of a property value freeze and reduce their millage rate by about one point.

According to one estimate provided by the city, the municipal tax on a newly purchased $500,000 house would increase $57 a year, from $321 to $378.

Another estimate for frozen home valuations ranging between $300,000 to $600,000 showed increases from $33 to $69 a year. The property value freeze has kept many homeowners paying close to the same amount of municipal tax as in 2009.

“With new parks on the horizon and residential tax bills frozen since incorporation, the most direct action that the city can take is moving the rate to the cap created by the city’s founders,” Vinicki said.