DeKalb officials vote to hike property taxes

DeKalb County officials this week voted to increase property taxes as part of mid-year budget “adjustments.”

The tax increase comes amid decreasing property values for many DeKalb County residents. The measure passed by a 4-3 vote.

“The majority of the Board of Commissioners stepped up to the plate and made a courageous vote to preserve the county’s ability to provide essential government services – public safety, criminal justice and infrastructure, and to rebuild our reserve fund,” DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis said in a statement. “Rebuilding our reserve is essential in maintaining a strong credit rating and in reducing costs.”

County officials say the tax hike – 4.35 mills – equates to a roughly $93 increase on the average home in the county – $155,000, according to a report on WABE’s website. However, a house valued at $300,000 will see a $400 property tax increase, according to Commissioner Elaine Boyer who called the tax increase an “awful day.”

“It’s a tough, tough economy out there,” she said in a statement. “People continue to lose their jobs and walk away from their homes every day. They just can’t afford to give government another dime especially when we have done nothing to tighten the belt of bloated government.”

The tax hike is expected to represent an additional $50 million for DeKalb County, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. In addition to the property tax hike, the budget tweak eliminates 250 county jobs and mandates county employees take three unpaid holidays.

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