Several thousand property owners have since registered and paid the $175 fee, raising more than $557,000 so far.
The county hired code enforcement officers and two records technicians and a registry manager, using federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program money.
Those funds expired this month, creating the need to set up a budget so those positions are paid from the registry fees.
Salaries alone will cost up to $267,564. All but the manager’s job, which pays up to $79,000, are limited to one year, though. The positions are to exist only as long as money keeps coming in.
Still, even supporters of the registry admit the county has not taken code enforcement action on any property on the list. Detractors, including the Atlanta Board of Realtors, argue that proves the registry is not needed, since responsible property owners are more likely to register as well as maintain their homes.
Commissioners Elaine Boyer and Kathie Gannon dissented in Tuesday’s vote, signaling that they agree at least in part with critics.
“It’s not meeting the needs of the community and the neighborhoods the way it was envisioned,” Gannon said. “The only time one of these properties is even inspected is the same way every other is, if we get a call complaining and we go out.”
The commission expects to revisit its registry requirements in the next few months, including mandating what code enforcement work is needed on foreclosed properties.
Detailed duties also would have been required under legislation proposed by a state lawmaker from DeKalb in this year’s legislative session. The proposal, which also limited fees for registries to $100, is to come up again next year.
“For us to rely on the state is very risky,” said Larry Johnson, the commission’s presiding officer. “We don’t want a one-size-fits-all approach, but we have to do something.”