Decatur 17-18 Budget Narrative Now Online!

Not only does the City of Decatur put together a wonky, official budget each year and post it online.  They also compile an easy to read Budget Narrative for all us lay people to flip through at our convenience.   So take advantage!

I always like to read through the city’s bulleted lists of project, programs and policies for the coming fiscal year.  So I’ve ripped them from the document and included them below for your convenience. The city separates them into the five principles from the strategic plan:

Principle A: Manage Growth While Retaining Character

  • Additional bicycle racks, holiday decorations, trash and recycling bins, dog waste stations, benches, seasonal plantings (Tasks 1D and 1F)
  • New Walk There signs (Task 1D)
  • Tree well, MARTA plaza, crosswalk, informational kiosk maintenance (Task 1D)
  • Maintenance of online business license renewals (Task 2A)
  • Adopt a mobile food facility ordinance (Task 2D)
  • Scottish Rite Sign Program (Task 4B)

Principle B: Encourage a Diverse and Engaged Community

  • Better Together Advisory Board will engage the community to fulfill the Community Action Plan (Tasks 5B and 5C)
  • Engage neighborhood leaders through the Decatur Neighborhood Alliance and the Lifelong Community Decatur Neighbors committee to encourage support between neighbors and between neighborhoods to provide community support (Tasks 5A, 5E, 6B, 7A, 7B, 7D)
  • Continue to develop leadership skills and engage members of the new Decatur Youth Council as they learn about city government and our community and provide feedback on how to best meet their need (Task 7E)
  • Continue to provide Open Office Hour live streaming video of City Commission members discussing topics of community interest and answering viewers’ questions live via social media, email or telephone (Task 6A)
  • Implement the Foresight Augmented Reality (FAR) app to help the blind and visually impaired to navigate their way to Decatur’s shops, restaurants, and businesses (Tasks 5C, 6A, 8D)
  • Explore inclusion of universal design/visibility guidelines (Task 5F)

Principle C: Serve as Good Stewards of the Environment and Community Resources

  • Redevelopment of the Callaway Building and the Avondale transit oriented development will begin to come on line (Tasks 9C and 9D)
  • Re-opening of the indoor pool at the Boys & Girls Club as a shared use facility (Tasks 11A and 16D)
  • Completion of a Comprehensive Open Space and Shared Facilities Masterplan among community organizations, City Schools of Decatur and the City of Decatur (Tasks 10A, 11A and 16F)
  • Installation of electronic fuel tracking and maintenance logging devices on city vehicles (Task 12A)
  • Complete the multi-year energy conservation audit for city facilities to update sustainability policies for facilities (Tasks 10A and 12E)
  • Update the City’s existing Stormwater Masterplan (Task 13B)
  • Update the City’s existing Greenspace Masterplan (Task 13D)
  • Refine online applications and permitting in Children and Youth Services, Active Living and Design Environment and Construction divisions (Task 10A)
  • Complete improvements to the Barry Street/ downtown storm drainage project (Task 13B)

Principle D: Support a Safe, Healthy, Lifelong Community

  • Resurfacing of McKoy Pool and Oakhurst tennis courts (Goal 16)
  • Implementation of sidewalk improvements based on sidewalk assessment (Goal 14)
  • Improvements to bicycle and pedestrian facilities including expansion of cycle tracks, sidewalks and road diet on Howard Ave (Task 14A)
  • Upgrade and expand the Outdoor Tornado Warning Siren System (Goal 16)

Principle E: Provide the Necessary Support within City Government to Achieve the Vision and Goals of the Community

  • Expand employee wellness program to include activities to combat obesity and diabetes (Goal II)
  • Upgrade telephone system in city facilities (Goal III and VI) • Replace the fiber network connecting city facilities (Goal III and VI)
  • Purchase a training simulator for use by the Police and Fire departments (Goal III)
  • Deploy electronic invoicing and invoice work flow system through accounts payable software (Goal V)
  • Implement recommendations and best practices from cybersecurity risk assessment (Goal VI)
  • Develop and begin implementation of Decatur’s Smart City Initiative (Goal VI)

UPDATED – Heads Up: Annual Property Tax Assessments Going Out Today

property appraisalUPDATE: New appraisals are online HERE if you don’t want to wait for the snail mail version.

This is always a fun time of year.

The Decatur Minute blog reports that the DeKalb County Tax Assessor’s office will be mailing annual assessment notices to property owners starting today.

As previously reported, the DeKalb Tax Assessors office has stated that the total value of property in Decatur has gone up by 20% in the past year, with 30% of the increase credited to new property being added to the tax rolls and the remaining 70% credited to the reevaluation of current properties.

So, it’s fair to say that many folks in the Decatur city limits will see an increased assessment this year.

Since the DeKalb County website can be difficult to navigate, here’s a link to the Appeal Process webpage should require it.

Related: remember that both the City of Decatur and City Schools are considering a 1 mill decrease in the tax rate due to this big property value jump.

As for the budget for the coming year, the Decatur Minute reminds us…

Public hearings on the millage rate and budget are scheduled for Monday, June 1 at 7:30 p.m., Monday, June 8 at 6:00 p.m., and Monday, June 15 at 7:30 p.m. All hearings will be held at Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street. The budget is available for review on, at Decatur City Hall and at the Decatur Library.

Screenshot of the DeKalb County Property Appraisal website

Decatur Touch-A-Budget Event is This Evening


Sorry for the late notice!  Summary courtesy of the Decatur Minute

Come out to the Decatur Recreation Center on March 31st from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. to find out what’s in store for FY2015-2016. The purpose of the expo is to engage people of all ages in the city’s budgeting process in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.

The expo will feature music, food and prizes. The popular budget bingo game returns this year, appropriate for ages 5 to 105. Public safety and public works vehicles will be parked in front of the Recreation Center for children and adults to see up close. Expo attendees will also be able to visit the Visitors’ Center tent and sign up as special events volunteers.

For more information about this event or the city’s annual budget, visit

Decatur Planning To Revise Festival Calendar, Begin Railroad Intersection Improvements in Coming Fiscal Year

Everyone is encouraged to read through the city’s latest budget draft, which includes the highly readable “narrative” section, to get a sense for the city’s stated accomplishments in the past fiscal year and what’s on the horizon.

The city divides its goals for the coming year by the Principles listed in the city’s 2010 Strategic Plan.  Principle A, “Manage Growth, While Maintaining Character” includes to following “New Projects, Programs and Policies” for the coming fiscal year…

  • Install a concrete chess table in the downtown district and in Harmony Park (Task 1D and 1E)

  • Fund additional artistic bicycle racks in various commercial districts (Task 1D)

  • Expand role of the PALS staff to become more active downtown ambassadors (Task 1E)

  • Revise the calendar of City sponsored festivals and special events to replace some older events with new activities (like a Maker’s Faire) in partnership with local residents

  • Complete the construction of the new Beacon Municipal Complex to anchor the western end of the Trinity Place corridor revitalization effort (Tasks 3B and 4E)

  • Initiate the construction of Phase IV and Phase V of the downtown streetscapes program, intersection improvements at the North McDonough Street and Candler Street railroad crossings and the Oakhurst Business district streetscape program (Task 1A)

  • Purchase additional umbrellas for tables around the Square (Task 1E)

  • Work with private property owners to expand Decatur’s retail business offerings (Task 2A)

  • Continue to expand programs like Sidewalk Saturdays, Small Business Week activities and implement a downtown sculpture gallery in partnership with local non profits to nurture a fun, festive, family-friendly atmosphere in our commercial districts (Task 2A)

  • Extend the downtown storm drainage improvements to complete the replacement of the downtown storm drainage system (Task 1C)

Decatur Hosts “Community Budget Gathering” Tomorrow Night


Interested in digging deep into Decatur’s budgeting process?  Clear your calendar for tomorrow night…

Community Budget Gathering Tomorrow
DATE: Tuesday, May 20
TIME: 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough St.

The City of Decatur is hosting another Community Budget Gathering on Tuesday, May 20 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough St. Join Budget Manager Meredith Roark, Assistant City Manager Andrea Arnold and others interested in learning about the City’s budget process.

This is your chance to find out how the budget process works and give your input. If you missed the first Community Budget Gathering back in April, don’t worry. Participation then is not required to attend tomorrow evening’s meeting. Sign up today with Meredith, [email protected] or call 404-370-4102, if you think you’ll be attending.

Graphic courtesy of the City of Decatur

Decatur’s “Touch a Budget” Session This Evening

The City of Decatur sends along this announcement/reminder…

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Tonight

Decatur Recreation Center, 231 Sycamore St.

Stop by the Decatur Recreation Center between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. tonight for the second annual budget expo. Similar to an open house, the budget expo will feature items included in the proposed budget and give participants an opportunity to share their thoughts and comments regarding the budget with staff. You’ll also have the opportunity to play Budget Bingo and listen to live music from Michael Magno.

So come on out and chat with staff, see some cool things and maybe win a prize or two.

Decatur Budget: Goals For the Coming Fiscal Year – Part 3

Onto the City’s future goals found in the Budget Narrative under Principle C of the 2010 Strategic Plan – Serve as Good Stewards of the Environment and Community Resources…

• Public Works Facility construction finalized (Task 11B, 12D)
• Beacon Municipal Complex construction begins (Task 11B, 12D)
• Beacon Muncipal storm sewer improvements begin (Task 13B)
• Offer incentives for home energy efficiency improvements (Task 12A)
• Install electric vehicle charging stations on city property (Task 12G)
• Create comprehensive policy for installing recycling bins in public spaces (Task 12A)
• Launch a green restaurant certification program (Task 13C)
• Research options for including sustainability in the Unified Land Development Ordinance (Task 12B)