Monday, March 10, 2008

A Letter From Commissioner Lee May to The North Precinct

DeKalb County can no longer be described as a suburb of Atlanta. With a population of over seven hundred thousand (700,000) citizens, covering two hundred sixty-nine (269) square miles, DeKalb County should be considered a major urban community. With the continuous growth and demanding needs of citizens, as your representative to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners I must support any measures that protect your public safety.

The staffing shortage within the DeKalb County Police Department is at a critical stage and must be addressed. The department is understaffed by more than eight hundred (800) officers’ according to the national average. The national average is 2.7 officers per 100 residents. DeKalb County currently has 1.4 officers per 1000 residents.

During the last five years 426 police officers have left the police department; 180 of these officers went to other police departments. During this same timeframe, 382 firefighters left the DeKalb Fire and Rescue Services Department. DeKalb public safety employees are the best trained in the metro area and are in high demand by other jurisdictions who offer great incentive and signing packages for our trained officers to join them.

The cost of a 4% increase would be $3,172,453 (9 months) for sworn public safety officers. A .21 millage rate increase would need to be effected in order to provide the much needed pay enhancements for public safety personnel. If no pay increase is provided to retain experienced personnel, the attrition rate within the police department will continue to rise and maintaining an adequate fire and rescue and police force will become problematic.

The estimated impact of a .21 millage rate increase on a house valued at the amounts below would be:

$150,000 home $8.39
$200,000 home $12.40
$300,000 home $20.39

On Tuesday, March 11, 2008, a Pay Incentive for Police Officers and Fire & Rescue Sworn Personnel will be on the Board of Commissioners agenda. However, if you want to keep DeKalb County as a safe place to live, work, and play for you and your family, come make your voice heard on Tuesday at 9:00am in the Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA, 30030.

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