Letter About Brookhaven
Peach Pundit has a story tonight, Senator Fran Millar On Proposed City Of Brookhaven. State Senator Fran Millar sent a “letter to the editor” to the fishwrapper, which he posted on facebook. It is a familiar pitch… the city of Brookhaven have lower taxes, and the DeKalb county government is greedy.
Here is the part of the letter that got PG into action: “I understand that like our President, CEO Ellis as well as Commissioner Gannon, believe in big government. DeKalb had a 26 percent tax increase last year. If this wasn’t an election year, then the citizens probably would have seen another tax increase. Good luck next year unincorporated DeKalb. Dunwoody has run a surplus since its creation and I believe Brookhaven can do likewise. Furthermore, Dunwoody now has regular police patrol and a road paving program. There will always be some personality clashes in any form of government. However, all government does not have to demonstrate a tax and spend philosophy like DeKalb.”
PG is going to guess that Mr. Millar is a Republican. President BHO has little to do with local government, but if you want to trash your opponents through association, it pays off. The pro city people spend as much time badmouthing DeKalb county government, and CEO Burrell Ellis, as they do praising the alleged benefits of a new city.
The voters considering the new city are majority white. The rest of the county is majority black. It does not take much imagination to get the hint of a race based campaign. Nothing too obvious, but the dog’s ears are perking up. With this in mind, PG wondered about “Commissioner Gannon”. She was mentioned in the same sentence as BHO and Burrell Ellis, who both have dark skin. What color is Kathie Gannon? As it turns out, Kathie Gannon is a certified Caucasian. A look at her website tells a fun story.
Budget In February, the Board of Commissioners passed the County budget for 2012. I voted against the budget. While the new budget does not require a tax increase, it represents a missed opportunity to prioritize County operations and services. I firmly believe that the Board of Commissioners must have a serious conversation about the amount and level of services that we can afford to provide. This requires us to carefully monitor the number of people we employ. While the new budget adds only a few positions and County employment has fallen over the past four years, I do not believe we have rigorously looked for alternatives. Also some Departments are growing unnecessarily, including the Board’s.
Another reason to review our priorities is our precarious revenue position. Over the past few years, as property values have declined, the County has collected much less in property taxes. We will not know until late this spring how much the tax digest has fallen from last year. If the tax base declines by more than 5%, the Board of Commissioners will be forced to make difficult cuts in July. If we had made the cuts in February and we have the good fortune of being on target with the revenue estimate, we could start looking at tax relief in June.
This contradicts the letter to the editor. Was there, or was there not, a tax increase? Does Kathie Gannon have a “tax and spend” philosophy?
The second paragraph speaks of the declining value of the County tax digest. In layman’s terms, the real estate disaster of the last few years has lowered the value of many properties in DeKalb county. The less the properties are worth, the less tax revenue they will generate. This is a point made by the No Brookhaven crowd … the revenue estimates for the new city are too optimistic. They are based on property values that are falling, and are going to continue to fall. The new city will not have as much revenue as they expect.
Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.