Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 10, 2012
Brookhavensupporters push forvote on cityhood
Thanks to you, over 1.4 million Georgia high school seniors havehad something more to celebrate on graduation day—the chanceto go to college. Every time you play the Georgia Lottery, you helpfund the HOPE Scholarship Program that provides Georgia studentswith nancial assistance at any of Georgia’s colleges, universitiesor technical colleges. That’s awesome! And on top of that, you’vehelped send over 1.1 million 4-year-olds to a Lottery-funded Pre-KProgram and raised more than $13 billion for education. That’s anA+ in our book.
With this many seniors going to college,a high-fve just wouldn’t cut it.
by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comIt was neighbor againstneighbor on Jan. 31 whenDeKalb residents voicedtheir views to state lawmak-ers about a proposed city of Brookhaven.“There’s no reason what-soever that we shouldn’t beable to do what Dunwoodyhas done,” said Rep.
, who authored HouseBill 636 that calls for a ref-erendum on Brookhaven’scityhood. “It is a city of roughly the same popula-tion. It is a city located in thesame county.”Last year, the Universityof Georgia’s Carl VinsonInstitute released a studyshowing that the proposed12-square mile city would be nancially feasible. If itincorporates, Brookhavenwould have 49,000 residentsand would be the state’s 16thlargest city.Jacobs said residentssupporting the proposedBrookhaven feel they would be better represented by acity government.“This is about your neigh- bors making decisions aboutyour local government ser-vices,” Jacobs said. “I amtoday to put forward a billin this General Assembly togive you the opportunity tovote whether or not you wantthat.”Rep.
saidthe cityhood of Brookhavenis a controversial topic, butmany of her constituents“feel that this is being rushedand they would just like it toslow down.”“Most of my constituentsthat are in the Brookhavenmap are not ready to voteon it this summer,” Parentsaid. “I’ve got people whoare ‘yes’ and I’ve got peoplewho are ‘no.’ I’m talkingto you about the prevailingsentiment which is ‘let’s justchill out a little bit.’”Instead, Parent said thatmany of her constituentswant to know what problemswould be solved by incorpo-ration.“The vast majority don’tseem to have a problem withthe services they currentlyreceive from DeKalb,” Par-ent said. “They want to knowwhat the effect is going to be on the rest of the county.They want to know if thecounty is going to have toraise taxes.”DeKalb County Com-missioner
, whosponsored a resolution ask-ing for a comprehensivestudy of impact incorpora-tion on the unincorporatedareas, said more time isneeded before making a de-cision on Brookhaven.“I’m not against new cit-ies,” Rader said. “I’m notagainst the existing cities.We need to look carefullyand make a good decision.We need to look before weleap.”CEO
saidthe process of incorporationhas shortcomings that needto be addressed.“We’ve looked at thefeasibility of cost on those49,000 citizens within these proposed boundaries, butwe haven’t looked at the fullimpact of all of the decisionswe’re making on the 735,000citizens who live throughoutDeKalb County,” Ellis said.Another problem with the process is the estimate of thenances needed to run the proposed city, said DeKalbresident
.“The two-year-old budgetsnapshot used for the pro- posed city of Brookhavendoes not take into accountthe reality of today’s sky-rocketing cost of publicworks,” Eyre said. “The fea-sibility study does not accu-rately reect the true costs tomaintain the older infrastruc-ture in Brookhaven.”The proposed budget of Brookhaven would put thecity on “perilous nancialfooting from day one,” Eyresaid.Supporting the movementfor a new city, DunwoodyMayor
said histhree-year-old city is “verycomfortable in what we havedone.”“We became a city pri-marily to represent our-selves,” Davis said. “DeKalbcounty commissioners repre-sent 140,000 people. [Dun-woody’s] council people rep-resent 15,000. Your neighbor is actually your representa-tive.”Many supporters askedthe committee members toallow the Brookhaven com-munity to vote.“I’m just here to say‘please give us the right tovote,’” said
, board member of Citizensfor North DeKalb, a group pushing for Brookhaven’scityhood. Let the political process ride its course. Whenyou vote for HB 636, you’resimply voting on voting.”Resident
J. Max Davis
said, “If you vote ‘no,’ wedon’t get a say. Voting ‘no’on this bill will deny us thatright.”Jacobs said if Brookhavenresidents vote to incorporate,they would not “stop beingcitizens of DeKalb County.”“At the end of the day,88 percent of our tax dol-lars will continue to go toDeKalb County governmentand the DeKalb Countygovernment will continue to provide … certain services,”Jacobs said. “We’re not breaking away from DeKalbCounty. We’re still a part of DeKalb County, but we’rechoosing for our truly localservices…administered at amore local level.”Rep.
(D-Austell), amember of the governmentalaffairs committee, said shewished the decision to al-low residents of Brookhavento incorporate “would gothrough the normal processof going through the delega-tion so that people who don’tlive in DeKalb don’t have tohear your business.”“I don’t live in DeKalbCounty but I feel I knowmore of your business thanany other county,” Morgansaid.
Members of the governmental affairs committee of the Georgia House of Representatives hold a hear-ing on the proposed incorporation of Brookhaven. Photo by Andrew Cauthen