Cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker would remove $13M from DeKalb

DeKalb County’s government will lose roughly $13 million a year if voters approve the formation of the cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker, according to the county’s calculations.

That money would shift from the county to the new cities, which would take over responsibility for providing government services such as parks, code enforcement and zoning. When cities form, they relieve their counties of both tax revenue and expenses.

As a result, DeKalb County’s government would likely have to shrink to accommodate smaller annual budgets. The $13 million impact of new cities represents about 2 percent of the county’s $561 million tax-funded budget.

The figures were presented to the DeKalb Commission this month as part of a quarterly financial report.

LaVista Hills, located mostly inside I-285, would have a impact on the county of about $11.4 million. The proposed city would handle services including police, roads and draining, permitting and licensing, planning and zoning, code enforcement, and parks and recreation.

Tucker, located mostly east of the Perimeter, would result in a net loss to DeKalb of about $2 million, according to the county’s estimates. Tucker would take over three basic services: planning and zoning, code enforcement, and parks and recreation.

Tucker’s impact on the county would be less than LaVista Hills’ in part because Tucker doesn’t plan to start its own police force and would continue relying on DeKalb police. If Tucker chose to create its own police, the financial affect on the county would rise to $5.9 million.

The Georgia General Assembly last month approved legislation leading to the creation of the two cities, and Gov. Nathan Deal signed those bills Tuesday. Voters will decide in a November referendum whether they want their areas to incorporate.

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