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GSU DnwdyStudy Final

GSU DnwdyStudy Final

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Published by Tucker Initiative
A study performed by the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University on the impact the incorporation of the City of Dunwoody would have on DeKalb County.
A study performed by the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University on the impact the incorporation of the City of Dunwoody would have on DeKalb County.

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Published by: Tucker Initiative on May 02, 2013
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Public Performance andManagement Group
The Fiscal Impact on DeKalb County with Possible Incorporation of Dunwoody, Georgia
This report assesses the revenue impact upon DeKalb County, Georgia from the possibleincorporation of Dunwoody as defined geographically by the Georgia 2006 Legislative Sessionin Senate Bill 568.
Specifically, this research provides best estimates of revenues lost by theCounty should Dunwoody incorporate; with estimates both including and not including thePerimeter Community Improvement District area (DeKalb portion), henceforth referred to as theCID. The CID is a quasi-governmental entity that can use additional property tax dollars toimprove its district such as accelerating transportation and infrastructure improvement projects.The Perimeter CID is “comprised of private commercial properties zoned as Office/Industrialand Retail properties. Residential and multi-family properties are not taxable by a CID” (“AboutPCIDs”
http://www.perimetercid.org/about_pcid.htm, December 15, 2006). This researchcompares the present DeKalb revenues with potential revenues lost by the County if the “City of Dunwoody” existed today in terms of residential and commercial tax and fee dollars.Data used for this research have been provided by the DeKalb County Department of Finance, the County’s Tax Assessor’s Office, the County’s Geographic Information System(GIS) Department as well as from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (e.g., the LocalGovernment Financial Survey) and the United States Bureaus of Census and Economic Analysis.Past relevant reports and literature have been accessed as well, including the March 2006 report,“Fiscal Analysis Phase One Estimated Revenues and Expenditures for a Proposed City of Dunwoody, Georgia” by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government of the University of Georgia(hereafter referred to as the Vinson Report). The Vinson Report assessed the fiscal viability of an incorporated Dunwoody, but did not examine the effects of such incorporation on DeKalbCounty revenues.
Recent Incorporations in Georgi
There are several bills that have been passed and others that are pending dealing withincorporation of communities in Georgia. These bills include those for Sandy Springs, in FultonCounty (passed), John’s Creek in Fulton (passed), Milton in Fulton (passed), Fairview in HenryCounty (pending) and Dunwoody in DeKalb County (SB 568 in 2006 and SB 82 in 2007).
Senate Bill 82 was introduced to replace SB 568 during the 2007 session of the General Assembly. SB 82 passedthe Georgia Senate in February 2007. Calculations in this report, however, are based on the boundaries of Dunwoody outlined in SB 568, Appendix A.
 2House Bill 37 incorporating Sandy Springs passed on April 15, 2005 and stipulates that City’sgovernmental structure. Sandy Springs began operations on December 1, 2005, contracting witha private company (CH2M Hill-OMI) to provide management and general service delivery.House Bill 1192, passed on May 1, 2006, created the City of Sandy Springs Public FacilitiesAuthority. Additional bills passed by the Georgia General Assembly in 2006 provided SandySprings residents the ability to vote on a number of homestead exemptions on July 18
of thatyear.
 The bill incorporating Sandy Springs stipulates that the City provide the followingservices: taxation and business regulation, property condemnation, contracts, emergencies,environmental protection, ethics, fire regulations, garbage fees, general health, safety andwelfare, sanitation, jail, regulation of vehicles, municipal debt, property ownership, utilities, planning and zoning, public improvements, and public transportation. This City now operates itsown police and fire departments as well. Feedback as to the quality of services and costs thereohave yet to be determined.
Senate Bill 82 
Senate Bill 82 was recently introduced in the 2007 session of the Georgia General Assembly toreplace SB 568, a bill initiated in the 2006 session to incorporate Dunwoody. Like SB 568, SB82 provides for an Act:To incorporate the City of Dunwoody in DeKalb County; to provide for a charter for the City of Dunwoody; to provide for incorporation, boundaries, and powersof the city; to provide for general powers and limitations on powers; to providefor a governing authority of such city and the powers, duties, authority, election,terms, method of filling vacancies, compensation, expenses, qualifications, prohibitions, and districts relative to members of such governing authority; to provide for inquiries and investigations; to provide for organization and procedures; to provide for ordinances; to provide for codes; to provide for acharter commission; to provide for the office of mayor and certain duties and powers relative to the office of mayor; to provide for administrativeresponsibilities; to provide for boards, commissions, and authorities; to providefor a city manager, a city attorney, a city clerk, a tax collector, a city accountant,and other personnel; to provide for a municipal court and the judge or judgesthereof; to provide for practices and procedures; to provide for ethics anddisclosures; to provide for taxation, licenses, and fees; to provide for franchises,service charges, and assessments; to provide for bonded and other indebtedness;to provide for accounting and budgeting; to provide for purchases; to provide for homestead exemptions; to provide for bonds for officials; to provide for other 
Bills passed by the 2006 Georgia General Assembly regarding homestead exemptions in Sandy Springs included:HB 1034: Freeze assessments with a three percent CPI annual increase; HB 1035: $10,000 for disabled and seniorswith income limitations; HB 1036: Freeze assessments without CPI increase for seniors with annual income of lessthan $39,000; HB 1037: $8,000 for disabled and seniors with income limitations; HB 1038:$15,000 standardexemption; and HB 1039: Full Value exemption for disabled or seniors 70 years or older with income limitations.
 3matters relative to the foregoing; to provide for a referendum; to provide effectivedates and transitional provisions governing the transfer of various functions andresponsibilities from DeKalb County to the City of Dunwoody; to provide for severability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.This research uses the geographic boundaries of a City of Dunwoody as specified in SB568 and including the Fulton and Gwinnett County boundaries on the West, North, and East.The South boundary of the area includes I-285 and Doraville city limits (see Map 1 on next page). These boundaries are those stated in Section 1.02 and Appendix A of Senate Bill 568, andcan be found in Appendix A of this report. Still, the geographic boundaries of a City of Dunwoody specified in this report coincide with the boundaries of a map entitled
 Proposed Cityof Dunwoody, DeKalb County,
Georgia, January 2007 
prepared by Keck and Wood, Inc. thatindicates an area “of 13.2 square miles, more or less, and a perimeter of 17 miles, more or less”as stated in SB 82, Appendix A.While the substance and purpose of SB 82 does not differ substantially from the previously proposed SB 568, the bills differ significantly regarding the number and type of homestead exemptions proposed. SB 568 included language identical to that provided in HB 37that incorporated Sandy Springs in 2005 and states that:Any homestead exemptions applicable to ad valorem taxes levied by the city shall be as provided by Act of the General Assembly pursuant to Article VII, SectionII, Paragraph II of the Georgia Constitution (Section 5.06.)SB 82 outlines a number of specific homestead exemptions (Sections 5.08 to 5.13). Theseexemptions will be identified later in this report.
DeKalb County, Georgi
The Atlanta Regional Commission’s (ARC) 2006 population estimate for DeKalb County is710,400; the sum of the estimates for cities within the County equals 90,269. The United StatesBureau of Census estimates the 2005 population of DeKalb County, Georgia to be 677,959 andspecifies the County as the third largest in population in Georgia, behind Fulton County with915,623 and Gwinnett County with 726,273. According to the Census Bureau, the State of Georgia has realized a 10.8 percent increase in population since 2000 while DeKalb Countyrealized a 6.7 percent increase in population for the same period (U.S. Bureau of Census, 2006;Atlanta Regional Commission, 2006). The ARC (2006) indicates that “at 268 square miles,DeKalb ranks 113th (out of 159) in the state in area and sixth in the 10-county region. Given itsrelatively small size, DeKalb is the most densely-populated county in the state.”DeKalb County operates with a Board of Commissioners (seven members, elected bydistricts) and a full-time Chief Executive Officer (elected countywide). All commissioners andthe CEO serve four year, staggered terms. One commissioner is elected by members as thePresiding Officer. The responsibilities of the Board include adoption of the annual budget, balancing the budget through tax levy and service charge determinations, consideration of rezoning matters, and passage and amendment of local laws (DeKalb County Budget Document,Annual Budget 2006, p. 6). As agents of the State of Georgia, counties also oversee health and

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