A tale of eleventy billion cities: City proposals compete for attention at hearing
Leaving DeKalb County and forming a new city has become a popular pastime in the last few years.
Dunwoody did it in 2008, and Brookhaven followed in 2012.
But cityhood 2014 edition is turning into an epic mess.
There are three competing proposals out there that would allow voters to decide whether to incorporate a city of Briarcliff, Lakeside or Tucker. The maps of Briarcliff, Lakeside and Tucker overlap around the Northlake Mall area, coveted for the tax revenue it would bring.
Activists for two of the proposed new cities – Briarcliff and Tucker – attended a crowded public hearing at Maloof Auditorium on Jan. 22, hosted by the DeKalb County legislative delegation. The Lakeside cityhood group had a prior meeting scheduled in Toco Hills.
The cities also are competing with a tighter legislative calendar. The General Assembly is currently in session, but will likely be shorter this year because the state primary elections are in May. Traditionally, primary elections are held in July.
Don Broussard with the City of Briarcliff Initiative said his group was promised 15 minutes to give a presentation, but the legislative delegation limited each city to two minutes.
After he finished speaking, Broussard speculated that Lakeside didn’t send a representative because the group “thought it would be a waste of time.”
“I’m beginning to agree with them,” Broussard said.
There are also annexation proposals being considered. The city of Decatur wants to annex some of the property that Briarcliff supporters want. Last night, there was renewed talk about the city of Atlanta annexing Druid Hills and Emory University away from the proposed city of Briarcliff.
State Sen. Fran Millar said Lakeside’s boundaries aren’t clearly defined yet and bills are pending.
Millar said he proposed a compromise between Lakeside and Tucker.
“I’ve tried to do something with Tucker and Lakeside, but Tucker wasn’t willing to do it,” Millar said.
Judy Perras, treasure of the Medlock Park Area Neighborhood Association, gave the legislative delegation a petition against Decatur’s annexation plans signed by business owners at the intersection of North Decatur and Clairemont Roads.
Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May also spoke at the meeting, offering to work with the cities who want to incorporate if they would agree to delay their efforts for a year. May said the county needs more time to study and think through the implications of cityhood. He said the new cities cut into the county’s tax base, like the Homestead Option Sales Tax.
“It’s more important now than ever to sit down and have a dialogue about the future of DeKalb County,” May said.
Allen Venet, with the City of Briarcliff, said he anticipates a discussion between all the cityhood groups will happen soon.
“Needless to say, Briarcliff is the best idea,” Venet said.
So far, the only agreement between the rival cityhood groups is to disagree.