Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Property Taxes; Sanitation; Murphey Candler

Did you get your tax bill for 2009? Is it higher than 2008 despite the declining real estate market? If you answered yes to both questions, you are not alone. No, the new City of Dunwoody is not the reason for the increased tax bill, instead it's the state of Georgia. Our taxes are higher because the state did not renew its portion of the homestead exemption. Of course it doesn't help that Dekalb County is facing a budget crisis. Hopefully city officials don't deem it necessary to raise its taxes anytime soon.
Are you pleased with your trash pickup? There's little argument that DeKalb County does a great job with sanitation, coming four times a week: twice for trash, once for recycling and once for "natural" pickup. There's also little doubt that the county is completely inefficient (I have no numbers to back this up, but I'm fairly certain the county is not making money on trash pickup, a service that cost each household $265 per year - included in our tax bill).
With all that said, I was at the Dunwoody City Council meeting this past Monday night, and it appears that the city will send out an RFP (request for proposal) to ascertain if private sanitation companies might make more sense. When I was running for city council last year, Waste Management offered the city $3 million up front (which represents about 20% percent of our current budget) and approximately a $20 discount per household to provide the same services over a ten-year period. Sounds like a great deal, right? The problem is - what if WM, or any company for that matter, starts to slide on their services? What recourse would we have? Certainly DeKalb County would have little interest in taking us back. It's a sticky situation, and in the end I believe the council will choose to stay with DeKalb. I applaud the council for exploring alternatives.
Now with all that said, do we need twice-a-week pickup for our trash? I know our household could get along quite nicely with once-a-week!
Did you read the article in this week's Dunwoody Crier about DeKalb County possible charging $100 per day per field to recreational leagues to use it's facilities? I spoke with current Murphey Candler Little League President Dave Wynn who said this is "devastating if true." If true, it could cost MCLL an additional $50,000-$100,000 a year in operating costs - money that MLCC does not have. Officials for Atlanta Colts Football, which also use the fields at Murphey Candler, are scheduled to meet with county officials next week.
Stay tuned.

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