Sen. Parent: Dunwoody rep said he would sponsor LaVista Hills bill

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt February 25, 2015
State Rep. Tom Taylor. File photo obtained via Reporter Newspapers.

State Rep. Tom Taylor. File photo obtained via Reporter Newspapers.

The phones were buzzing down at the office of state Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Dunwoody, after a group opposed to the current cityhood process identified him as the sponsor of a bill setting a referendum on the proposed city of LaVista Hills.

The proposed city is not in Taylor’s district. Taylor has not responded to a call seeking comment about whether he intends to sponsor the legislation.

Mary Kay Woodworth of LaVista Hills Yes said that the claim is not accurate.

“We’ve been talking to many legislators in DeKalb,” she said. “Nothing is confirmed at this time.”

State Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, also has been asked to sponsor the LaVista Hills bill. Unlike Taylor, he does represent the area in question, but he recently told Decaturish he hasn’t decided whether he will introduce the legislation.

DeKalb Strong said Taylor was the sponsor in an email sent to supporters on Feb. 24.

“The legislators elected by the ‘LaVista Hills’ area have heard from their constituents that they don’t want this new city,” the email says. “So now, a legislator from elsewhere, who we are not able to vote for (or vote out of office), is making vital decisions for our area.”

DeKalb Strong President Marjorie Snook said she got this information from state Sen. Elena Parent, D-SD 42.

“Tom Taylor told that to Elena Parent at a meeting last night,” Snook said.

Decaturish asked Parent if she was the source of the information, and she said that she was.

“He told me and a number of others that, but I do not know the latest,” Parent said. “Maybe he is changing his mind.”

Maybe. The woman who answered the phones at his office sounded a flustered when she said Taylor wasn’t available for comment. She didn’t know Taylor’s position on LaVista Hills and said she’s, “Gotten many calls from DeKalb Strong this morning.”

Time is evaporating for any cityhood legislation, which has to be introduced in one chamber of the legislature by March 13, known as Crossover Day. There are currently proposals to create several new cities. In addition to LaVista Hills, there are proposals for cities of Tucker, Greenhaven and Stonecrest. No bills have been introduced on behalf of any of the new cities.

There are also proposals for annexations to expand the borders of existing cities. Decatur and Avondale Estates are pursuing their annexation plans. Another proposal, put forth by Together in Atlanta, would bring Druid Hills into the city of Atlanta. That map, which is based around the attendance zones of Briar Vista and Fernbank Elementary schools, is in conflict with a portion of the LaVista Hills map. Annexation bills can still move forward after Crossover Day, meaning they have a slightly longer legislative shelf life than cityhood.

But the likelihood of annexation bills are also in doubt. No one has introduced a bill on behalf of Decatur, Avondale or the TIA proposal. At a luncheon Monday, things got even more complicated when the DeKalb County delegation adopted rules for introducing annexation bills. While the delegation says the rules are the same as before, the rules make it clear that one representative could hold up an annexation proposal. A copy of the rules Decaturish saw at the meeting says that in addition to a simple majority, meaning the signatures of nine of 16 house members, annexation bills “shall include the signatures of all members who represent the areas concerned.”

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

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