The city’s financial director Chris Pike said the lower rates fall in line with the city’s goal to have rates equal to or less than that of the county. The rates vary depending on what class each business is categorized under. For example, the tax rate for a Class 1 business is .00027 and the rate for a Class 2 business is .00045.
“State law requires we classify businesses into categories based on industry-wide profit margins published by the IRS,” Pike said. “The more profitable the industry, the higher the tax class and the tax rate.”
He added the rate schedule applies to businesses like retail shops and that the state has alternative methods of computing occupation taxes for other businesses such as licensed practitioners or insurance companies.
“[Those companies] have the option of utilizing [the city’s] schedule or the state does provide a cap of $400 per practitioner,” Pike said.
He wants to adjust some of the wording in the city’s occupation tax ordinance and plans to bring amendments before city council next month.
“There are some things within our existing ordinance that we carried over from DeKalb that does need to be cleaned up,” Pike said.
Councilmembers adopted DeKalb County’s rate schedule for all other fees — such as alcohol permits, server permits and special event permits — in the interim while the finance department works to establish its own complete fee schedule for Brookhaven.
“That way we’re not holding up businesses and we’re still going to do all our due diligence when we adopt [rate schedules for Brookhaven],” said Councilman Bates Mattison, who made the motion.
Pike said he hopes to bring additional fee schedules before the council in February.
Also at the Jan. 22 meeting, council members discussed the city’s progress on entering into intergovernmental agreements with DeKalb County for services like holding elections, collecting taxes and sanitation. Acting city attorney Bill Riley said he has been meeting with representatives from the county to draft and discuss the documents.
Mayor J. Max Davis mentioned DeKalb County is proposing raising its rates for sanitation service or reducing the amount of service.
“It’s a possibility that we could be deciding as a city whether or not we want to have once-a-week regular garbage pickup at the same rate or twice-a-week at an increased rate,” he said. “That’s something we’re going to have to be talking about as a city, and I want a lot of input about that.”
Keeping waste service exactly as it has been with garbage collection twice a week would mean a $40 per year increase for residents, said Councilman Jim Eyre.
Also during the meeting, the city council approved establishing a qualifying fee of $360 for candidates interested in running for city council positions in the Nov. 5 municipal elections. City council members are elected on staggered terms, and elections for District 2 and District 4 councilmembers will be later this year.
The Brookhaven City Council will likely consider adopting more rate schedules and an amendment to the city’s occupation tax ordinance in February.