When we started the City of Tucker three years ago, there were so many things we wanted to do: bring more localized Code Enforcement to our neighborhoods and business districts, take on and improve our Parks and Recreation services, have more of a direct say in the development of our commercial centers. It’s taken a lot of work, but we’ve accomplished a lot in all of those areas.
Our latest milestone, at least on the surface, is something I wouldn’t ordinarily brag about. We’ve run the City to this point on a zero-millage rate. We’ve funded our budget through things like business license fees and alcohol permit revenues, but with zero property taxes. It’s always been part of the promise and the plan that as we took over more services to be provided by the City, we would take over the corresponding taxes from the County. On June 26, your City Council voted to impose our first millage rate, set at 0.9 mils. That means Tucker is collecting a property tax for the first time.
If you know me, you know I’m no fan of new taxes. But this new millage rate is a great thing for Tucker, and I want you to know why.
Historically, DeKalb County has collected a millage for the area known as Tucker and the rest of unincorporated DeKalb. It goes to fund our police, fire, roads and drainage, and other critical services. One of those services is Parks and Recreation. When we assumed responsibility for our parks in 2018, we made an agreement with the County that called for them to continue collecting the taxes, but via a service agreement to compensate Tucker for running the parks and making improvements to them. We’ve worked closely with the County on this, and now we’re going the rest of the way. This year, we will take on our own millage rate to fund our own parks.
I write all that to say, if you hear that Tucker is introducing new taxes, you’re now armed with the facts: our tax hike is actually a tax reduction. You win. Our parks win. And our City has another great milestone to celebrate.