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Decatur City Commission passes budget, approves Legacy Park track design

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Decatur City Commission passes budget, approves Legacy Park track design

The planned improvements include a new competition track and field facility, synthetic turf athletic field, lighting, a field house and improvements to the existing gym. Photo courtesy of the city of Decatur.

This story has been updated.

Decatur, GA — At its regular meeting on June 20, the Decatur City Commission approved a budget for Fiscal Year 2023-2024, lowered the millage rate from 13.17 to 12.47 mills, adopted a revised fee schedule, and unanimously approved the design for a new track and field facility at Legacy Park.

“The budget you have in front of you makes some real investments in our employees, in our community, in our children and youth, our strategic plan goals, public infrastructure, and ultimately makes a great investment in our future,” City Manager Andrea Arnold said.

General fund expenditures for 2023-24 are estimated at $39.6 million, an increase of $7.6 million over the revised estimate for 2022-23. The city is raising wages for all city staff, and adding 11 new staff members, mostly in the parks and recreation department.

Total expenditures from other funds are estimated at $54.3 million, an increase of $18 million over 2022-23. The increase includes an additional $10.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act spending, $5 million more in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax projects, and about $2.8 million more in capital project spending.

The commission voted to reduce the millage rate from 13.17 to 12.47 mills. The property tax digest received from DeKalb County indicated a 14.7% increase over last year’s digest.

The Legacy Park facility will include a competition track, a synthetic turf field with markings for youth and adult soccer, lacrosse, football, and Ultimate Frisbee, a cross-country trail, and areas for pole-vaulting, long jump, shot put, and discus. Additionally, a field house will be built, and new lighting will be installed.

Improvements to the existing gymnasium include adding a ramp and making access and pathways ADA-compliant. An existing basketball court will be removed and converted into a grassy area for viewing.

Alan Wieczynski of Breedlove Land Planning said that while there were some requests to widen the soccer field, doing so would mean inadequate space for other sports.

The Legacy Park improvements will be funded partially by the City of Decatur and partially by the City Schools of Decatur.

To see the design plan, click here.

In other news:

— A revised fee schedule includes an increase in the number of development fees commensurate with inflation and amounts charged by surrounding municipalities. There will also be increases to a number of Parks and Recreation fees including after-school programs, although fees for families who qualify for reduced fees will not increase unless the family’s income has increased.

— Rebecca Trout of the National Civic League presented Decatur with the 2023 All-America City Award. Trout said that the theme for this year was youth engagement, and the judges were very impressed by the projects carried out by a team of young Decatur residents. Members of the Decatur Youth Council were present to receive the award on behalf of the city.

— In honor of National Pollinator Week, there will be a “Bee-catur” Pollinator Festival this Saturday on the square from 10-2. Monk’s Meadery will provide beverages.

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