The proposed city of LaVista Hills would be financially feasible, with a government that’s able to afford several services and maintain a $1.7 million annual surplus, according to a study by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute.
Voters will decide whether to create the city during a November referendum, and if approved it would provide police, parks, planning, zoning, business development and road maintenance services. The city would be located mostly inside I-285 in north-central DeKalb County.
No tax increase would be needed to fund the 67,500-person city’s annual expenses of about $34.5 million, or $511 per person, according to the study. The city would gain revenue in large part from insurance premiums, utility fees and property taxes that currently pay for county-provided services.
“The UGA analysis confirms what we already knew, that LaVista Hills will provide increased services with no new taxes,” said Allen Venet, a chairman for LaVista Hills Yes.
Police would be the city’s most significant annual expenditure, costing nearly $10 million to pay for 104 officers. LaVista Hills Yes, which is advocating for cityhood and paid for the study, said in a statement that would represent a three-fold increase in the number of officers on patrol in the area.
The city would have a median household income of $59,200, which is significantly higher than the $36,000 median household income in unincorporated DeKalb as a whole, according to the study.
The Georgia General Assembly approved referendums for the cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker last month, and Gov. Nathan Deal signed their legislation into law last week.
If both areas incorporate, DeKalb will lose about $13 million a year, according to recent county estimates.