Guided by the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Vernon Jones and the support of the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, a bond referendum was brought before the voters of DeKalb County to provide funding for the following types of projects in unincorporated DeKalb County: land for additional parks and natural areas, preservation of greenspace, protection of clean water, improvement of existing parks, and development of new park facilities. On March 20, 2001, DeKalb County voters approved the issuance of $125 million in general obligation park bonds. The bonds were issued on October 11, 2001, and sold at a premium, providing $130 million for the DeKalb Parks and Greenspace Program. Bonds are to be repaid from property tax revenue levied in the unincorporated portion of the County. A similar bond referendum was passed in 2005 for $96 million, plus a $3 million premium.
Key Facts about the Parks and Greenspace Bond Program
- Total bond funding: $230 million
- Use of bond funds, as specified in the 2001 bond referendum:
- At least 70% dedicated to land acquisition for parks and greenspace
- No more than 30% dedicated to park improvements and developing new facilities
- 2005 Bond funds are allocated 30% to acquisition and 70% to development
- All land acquisitions and capital expenditures require approval by the Board of Commissioners
- A citizens advisory committee was established to provide a link between the citizens, the Board of Commissioners, and County staff. Committee members are appointed by the CEO and Board of Commissioners.
- Bond funds apply to land acquisition, major capital repairs and renovations, and the development of new facilities. This funding does not replace the annual operating budget of the Parks and Recreation Department for routine operations and maintenance costs.