DeKalb County’s 2019 budget  is $1.3 billion and it includes raises for employees, a cost-of-living increase for county pensioners, 164 new public safety jobs, and needed upgrades for the Maloof Center. 

The budget, approved 6 to 1 on Feb. 26 by the DeKalb Board of Commissioners, is up 2 percent from the 2018 budget.

District 2 Commissioner Nancy Jester was the lone “no” vote.

The budget comes with no increase in property taxes for residents of unincorporated DeKalb, funding for sidewalks, green space, and parks and  the South River, and an anti-litter campaign to help fight blight.

CEO Michael Thurmond said the budget reflects improvements in county finances which has  eliminated budget deficits, and increased the county’s rainy day fund and improved its financial ratings.

Budget highlight include:

  • 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for county pensioners, the first in 14 years at a cost of $2 million;
  • 3 percent pay raise for 3,933 county employees who did not receive public safety raises in October;
  • A $15 an hour minimum wage for county employees up from $14;
  • 164 new public safety positions  – 60 for firefighters and 104 for police;
  • $575,000 to renovate the lobby of the Manuel Maloof Building,
  • $1.3 million for new positions for state, probate and juvenile courts, and the district attorney and public defender offices;
  • $105,458 for two contract compliance officers in the Purchasing and Contracting Department based on the recommendation in the independent assessment of the county purchasing program
  • $470,000 for the purchase and installation of a trash trap on the South River
  • $150,000  for an anti-litter campaign
  • $174,000 for a Memorial Drive revitalization study.
  • First full year of the Equalized Homestead Option Sales Tax (EHOST) to provide $119 million in residential property tax relief, up $10 million from 2018 
  • $100,000 for a Charter Review Commission; and $84,000 for an incorporation and annexation study by the Carl Vinson Institute;
  • $103,000 for to study an I-285 East bus rapid transit system