Report: New cities in DeKalb could mean less money for older cities

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt January 10, 2014

As I was sitting at my desk at Reporter Newspapers on Wednesday, proofing what will be my last paper as Associate Editor, I read a story published by my soon-to-be former co-worker Melissa Weinman.

This story isn’t getting a lot of attention yet, but it really should. Weinman discovered that DeKalb is one of two counties that levies a Homestead Option Sales Tax. As new cities form in the county, like Dunwoody and Brookhaven, other cities like Decatur see their HOST revenues decline.

“The problem is, because of the HOST and the sales tax collected for MARTA, DeKalb already levies the maximum sales tax allowed under the law,” Weinman writes.

Decatur received $3.7 million in HOST taxes, according to the story.

This is great work and well worth your time to read. To see the article, click here.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • Dan

    This is an interesting topic…I wasn’t aware of the HOST nuances here. It seems to me though the amounts distributed to newer cities appear reasonable (I say as unicorporated, with a primary haunt of Decatur). Dunwoody and Brookhaven have twice the population of Decatur and three times the square mileage, yet Decatur receives over half their respective capital spending totals. I guess it would be interesting to see if there were any data for capital spending in these areas when they were unincorporated. Then we could analyze the effects from unincorporation to incorporation and see whether it reduces the unincorporated share of capital projects more than the older cities’ share, or vice versa.

    • I just left a meeting that Atlanta Regional Commission was hosting in downtown Decatur. The topic of HOST money came up in my talks with a consultant for DeKalb County. Apparently the county has $120 million in backlogged road projects it can’t complete due to declining HOST money. Amazing.

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