The commission, made up of members Mallard Holliday, Max Lehmann, Rick Otness, Beverly Wingate and Robert Wittenstein, discussed last week how the city would pay for its own fire department in the future.
Commission member Robert Wittenstein brought up a section of the charter that references the millage rate cap for the city that is set at 3.04 mills.
“If we ever decide to take on fire, we need to assess the millage rate to do that,” he said. “I’m not sure we want to be in a position that the only way to get fire would be a ballot decision, but if we did offer fire we would want a cap on that as well.”
Under the current city charter, there is a cap on the rate of taxation of property owners at 3.04 mills and if the city wanted to raise the millage rate, it would require a resolution to go before the voters. The current millage rate is 2.74.
With input from the commission, City Manager Warren Hutmacher said he will present language to City Attorney Cecil McLendon that will read “the millage rate cap would apply to services provided at the time. A new tax would be allowed by city council without voter approval for services already provided by another governmental entity to the citizens and business owners of Dunwoody.”
Only in the discussion phase, once McLendon brings the language back to the commission, and the group has time to review it, they will then decide whether submit it to the Legislature. Hutmacher reiterated the general assembly has the final say on any changes to the city charter.
In other business, Lehmann was elected as commission chairman, with Wittenstein as vice chairman. The commission is a group of citizens who are appointed to review the city’s charter during the past four and a half years and recommend any changes.
The commission will meet regularly to dissect sections of Dunwoody’s charter.
The Dunwoody Charter Commission will meet June 5 at 7 p.m. at city hall.