DeKalb Commission delays vote on libraries and parks

The DeKalb Commission couldn’t agree Tuesday on how to spend as much as $40 million for libraries, parks and sidewalks, delaying a vote for at least three weeks.

The DeKalb Commission delayed voting Tuesday on allocating funds for library, parks and transportation projects. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM

The DeKalb Commission delayed voting Tuesday on allocating funds for library, parks and transportation projects. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM

Commissioners were undecided on how to allocate money approved by voters a decade ago for various projects, including a new Brookhaven Library and Ellenwood Library. Other improvements under consideration include a library south of Stone Mountain, a recreation center at Tobie Grant Park, a senior center in Lithonia and road resurfacing across the county.

About $19 million is left over from projects approved by voters in 2005, and another $21 million could be gained for additional construction by refinancing bonds at low interest rates.

Commissioner Larry Johnson, the board’s presiding officer, said he needs to ensure that the libraries that voters approved — those in Brookhaven and Ellenwood — are fully funded before he could consider additional projects.

Several commissioners said they also want to fund a new animal shelter, a long-sought priority for the county that wasn’t included among projects to be funded by the bond proceeds.

Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May warned commissioners that they need to act.

He said delays could result in the county missing out on proceeds from refinancing bonds before interest rates rise, and he worried that the IRS could question why the infrastructure money hadn’t been spent.

The infrastructure improvements are scheduled to next come before the commission Nov. 17.