If Emory University moves into the city of Atlanta, it won’t bring much tax money with it.
The financial impact of Emory’s pending transition on DeKalb County’s government is small, according to an analysis of property tax records by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Atlanta City Council is expected to vote soon on the annexation of 744 acres, the city’s largest expansion since adding Buckhead in 1952. Atlanta and DeKalb officials reached a settlement this week on land use and fire services, clearing the way for the annexation to move forward.
Almost all of the $4.4 million in taxes and fees paid last year by property owners — Emory, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Synod of South Atlantic Presbyterian Church (USA) — will remain in the county. Those properties will still be a part of DeKalb but no longer in an unincorporated area.
Nearly three-quarters of the 104 properties in the annexed area don’t pay any property taxes because they’re nonprofit organizations, but commercial and residential properties still have an annual tax bill.
Property owners in the area pay about $2.3 million a year for the public school system, and that won’t change because the annexation isn’t changing educational borders. The pending annexation ordinance contains a provision stating that the city’s expansion won’t include Atlanta Public Schools. Fewer than 10 public school students live in the annexation area, and they’ll continue to attend DeKalb schools.
Meanwhile, this week’s settlement between the city and the county negates the impact of Atlanta property taxes.
Without the deal, Atlanta’s government would gain about $1.1 million in property taxes and DeKalb’s government would lose nearly as much, based on current property tax rates charged by each jurisdiction for local services.
But the settlement includes $1 million in annual payments from the city to DeKalb to compensate for county fire services.
Atlanta is also taking on additional costs for government services, primarily police protection and road maintenance, to the Emory area. DeKalb’s government will continue to handle fire, water, sewer and storm water services.