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What the Charter Says About a Milege Cap Doesn't Really Matter

Just a reminder for those who have felt "at ease" with the proposed cities of Lavista Hills and Tucker because they have something in their charter that says you will get a vote if they ever decide to take on more services or a higher tax rate. 

That might be what the charter says.  But, that's not what the city councils have to do.  If they want to take on a larger amount of your tax dollars, all they have to do is ask the legislature for an amendment to the original charter.  It can be written, passed and signed into law without ever gaining your input or consent. 

In fact, we don't have to look very far back to find an example of how the new cities that have started in Georgia have already betrayed the voters on this seemingly simple concept.

In Dunwoody, July  16, 2013, Reporter Kiri Walton described this situation:

Dunwoody Residents Demand Public Vote on Proposed Fire Dept. Funding  

Dunwoody citizens are speaking out about concerns their public vote would be revoked if the city decided to establish and fund its own fire department.
Dunwoody Residents Demand Public Vote on Proposed Fire Dept. Funding

The Dunwoody Charter Commission voted at its June 5 meeting to ask the state legislature to have the city take over the fire millage rate and allow the Dunwoody City Council to increase the fire tax rate up to 20 percent more, to cover fire department costs, without a public vote.
Two weeks later, the charter commission voted to instead recommend a charter amendment that would still allow the city to take over fire services from DeKalb County, but with the ability to impose a fire tax rate that does not exceed the three-year average of DeKalb's fire tax millage rate...without a public vote.

Dunwoody citizens were outraged that the charter amendment would remove their ability to vote on any changes with the fire tax rate, and they showed up en masse at the Dunwoody Charter Commission meeting on July 3.

You can read more on the Reporter Newspapers website here and even watch the video for yourself where outraged residents confront the appointed "charter commission" about what they are doing without authority or voter approval.  It's an eye opener, for sure!

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