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Photo: Mandi Albright/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: Mandi Albright/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

DeKalb CEO Thurmond outlines 2020 budget priorities

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond won’t deliver his 2020 budget proposal until the end of the year, but he has already provided clues as to what it might entail.

Thurmond, who is entering the fourth and final year of his first term in office, said there are six areas where he hopes to focus county spending next year. In a memo to county commissioners, he said the budget proposal he submits to them by Dec. 15 will build on prior achievements, such as increasing the county’s rainy day fund, while introducing new new initiatives.

“The following budget priorities for (fiscal year) 2020 represent our vision for providing the highest level of services and the best quality of life for our residents,” Thurmond wrote.

The areas where the CEO hopes to prioritize county spending are:

  • making neighborhoods safer
  • improving public health, social services, recreation and culture; 
  • strengthening the workforce and promoting economic development; 
  • beautification and reducing blight; 
  • investing in maintenance and repair of county infrastructure; and
  • making government more efficient, effective and transparent.

In his memo, Thurmond also said there are strain on the budget that could limit new spending. This includes unavoidable rising costs for health care, employee pensions and building maintenance.

In addition, he said a cooling real estate market coupled with economic uncertainty nationally and internationally require revenue forecasters to be cautious in their 2020 projections.

The county’s budget is funded mostly through property taxes paid by homeowners and businesses.

As a result of these concerns, Thurmond asked department heads to submit budget requests below 2019 spending levels. He also told them to look for additional places to cut cost in order to redirect the money to other priorities.

Although he has no control over constitutional officers, such as the tax commissioner and sheriff, he suggested they do the same.

Read more | DeKalb residents will see lower tax rates, new credits in 2019

Also | DeKalb tears down abandoned home, the 67th property demolished in 2019

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