“We have reserved a significant portion of our budget to reallocate at a later time once we make a decision on all future 2013 needs of the city, including the police department,” Davis said.
City Finance Director Chris Pike said the budget contains a large contingency because there are unknown first-year expenses for several major departments and the council wanted a high level of flexibility for spending until those expenses are known.
Davis also recommended for $2.25 million to be set aside in the budget as reserve for police services. He anticipates the development of the police force to begin later this summer. The first step is to hire a permanent city manager who will then appoint a police chief.
He hopes the city manager selection will come later this month. In the interim, the county will continue to provide police services. DeKalb County spokesman Burke Brennan said the county estimates the cost for police services in the transition to be about $2.5 million. He said the county and city are still in negotiations for intergovernmental agreements for other services.
In a memo to the city council, Davis said the city will establish its own services “slowly and only at a sustainable pace.” Pike said Brookhaven’s revenues for year one were estimated conservatively.
“All cities have lower revenues in the first year,” he explained. “Dunwoody was under $15 million its first year and is now over $25 million without raising property tax rates. Dunwoody’s revenue base best mirrors what Brookhaven will face this year and in future years.”
The city will not acquire some of its revenue base — such as insurance premiums and franchise fees from Georgia Power — until 2014.