Tucker City Council talks budget, public works

Tucker City Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Tucker, GA — Should the city take over some public works from DeKalb County? The question could be on the ballot in November. 

The city of Tucker relies on intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) with DeKalb County for public safety, sanitation, sewer services, roads and drainage and stormwater. The city has been discussing taking over stormwater and roads and drainage for years, but the process of meeting with DeKalb County and educating the public was interrupted by COVID-19 in 2020, said Mayor Frank Auman. 

“We’ve talked about it a long time. In 2020, we were inches away from moving ahead with a referendum and decision about taking on this service,” said Auman at the May 23 city council meeting. 

The time is right for a referendum because the election is coming up, and the city has American Rescue Plan funding to spend, Auman said. 

Auman detailed a timeline in which the city would post legal notices, hold public meetings and add a referendum vote to the ballot in November. Taxes may increase if the referendum passes, and Tucker could be responsible for roads and drainage and stormwater by July 1, 2023.

The work session meeting also covered a first read for the fiscal year 2023 budget. 

According to a memo from City Manager Tami Hanlin, the budget includes job positions for a multimedia coordinator in the parks and recreation department and a project manager in the city manager’s office, sidewalk maintenance and repair services and a car for use by city staff. 

“Over the last couple of years, it’s been noted that we’re building sidewalks, and now we’re building trails, and we didn’t really have any money set aside for the maintenance,” Hanlin said. “To get started, we budgeted a total of $500,000 with half going for landscaping and then the other half to repair sidewalks.”

The council is still discussing safety on Brockett Road, a $2.2 million proposal to improve Juliette Road and future plans for Fitzgerald Field. 

Finance Director Beverly Ragland will present a second read of the FY23 budget on June 13. 

In other news:

Four Tucker municipal court judges were approved by the city council. Auman reappointed Chief Judge Steve Nicholas, Judge Stanley Baum, Judge Hollie Manheimer and Judge Richard Jaffe to serve four more years.   

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