Berkeley Lake leaders reviewing tax study proposals

BERKELEY LAKE — City officials in Berkeley Lake recently solicited proposals from companies qualified to perform tax equity studies. The president of one of the responding companies was on hand at Thursday night’s city council meeting to answer any questions council members may have.

Barry Hall, president of Government Enterprises, said that a thorough study could take 60 to 90 days. His company has done 30 to 40 such studies for other cities and counties since the late 90s. With respect to Berkeley Lake’s question of whether there is an inequity in city services delivered and taxes paid by residents and business owners, Hall said “we do due diligence to research whether there’s an inequity and in researching every possible option.”

The question is whether the services provided to Berkeley Lake residents are being utilized at varying levels, which would require a closer look at levels of taxation. An example of one situation might be homeowners who live on the lake and homeowners who do not. The study, however, will examine all unique aspects of the Berkeley Lake community, including greenspace.

Mayor Lois Salter was not present at Thursday’s council meeting, and councilman Scott Lee was absent also. With more discussion and review necessary, city leaders put off making a decision on which company to use for the study until the February council meeting. A second proposal was submitted by the Carl Vinson Institute.

New trees to be planted next month

Susan Hanson, chairman of the Berkeley Lake Conservancy, advised council members Thursday that in order for the city to be considered a Tree City new trees must be planted every year. On Feb. 20 (two days after Arbor Day), six new Eastern Red Cedar trees will be planted in the city. Council members approved Hanson’s estimated $150 cost for the project.