Decatur School Board will consider supporting 2021 sunset of homestead exemption

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt February 5, 2016
Willie Mae Murray's Oakhurst home was one of 24 rehabilitated during Decatur’s annual MLK Service Project that ended Jan. 20, 2014. File Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Willie Mae Murray’s Oakhurst home was one of 24 rehabilitated during Decatur’s annual MLK Service Project that ended Jan. 20, 2014. File Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The Decatur School Board meets on Tuesday, Feb. 9, and one of the many items on the agenda is a “sunset” clause for a proposed homestead tax exemption.

A draft resolution would suggest allowing the homestead tax to expire on July 1, 2021, unless it is renewed.


The decision to seek the expanded homestead tax came as the School Board asked voters to approve a $75 million general obligation bond for school construction, which they did in November by an overwhelming margin. The bond will result in a tax increase to pay off the debt. In an attempt to alleviate concerns about the tax burden on seniors, the Decatur School Board is asking the legislature to expand its homestead tax exemption. Currently, residents age 80 and older do not have to pay the school tax. The school board would like to see the age lowered to 65.

While the board’s initial resolution did not contain a sunset provision, it was added after an inquiry by state Sen. Elena Parent.

Parent told Decaturish that tax exemptions should be reviewed periodically.

“I think it’s wise and prudent for a government authority to review all tax exemptions to see if they still make sense,” Parent said.

She had proposed a 10-year sunset, but Dr. David Dude said new sunset clause was agreed to after a meeting with the DeKalb County senate delegation on Thursday, Feb. 4.

“[School Board Chair] Annie Caiola, [Board Members] Garrett Goebel, Courtney Burnett, and I attended a public meeting with the DeKalb senate delegation yesterday afternoon to discuss this homestead exemption,” Dude said. “This board item, and the details within, came out of that discussion.”

If the legislation is approved this year, the homestead tax exemption would have to be approved by voters in a referendum.

The Feb. 9 School Board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at City Schools of Decatur’s Central Office, located at 125 Electric Avenue Decatur, GA 30030. All meetings are open to the public.


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