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the DeKalb

FRiDaY, JUlY 1, 2016 • Vol. 19, no. 12 • FREE

Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.

• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •

Catching some rays
Decatur and DeKalb County may
lead the way in solar technology
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
Most Americans have
considered switching to
solar power, according to a
2015 GALLUP poll showing
more than 70 percent of
respondents want more
emphasis on domestic solar
energy.
According to Jennette
Gayer, Environment Georgia
director and Solarize DecaturDeKalb (SDD) spokesperson,
most Americans don’t
know how to go about
obtaining solar energy
for businesses or homes
without a substantial financial
investment.
DeKalb County residents
and business owners may
not have to worry about
financial outlay, as Solarize
Decatur-DeKalb is aiming
to implement a bulk solarenergy purchasing program
later in 2016.
SDD, a partnership
between Sierra Club, Georgia
Interfaith Power and Light,
Solar Crowdsource, Decatur
Sustainability Board and
Environment Georgia, plans
to streamline the solar
process by creating a bulk
order and installation process
tailored to DeKalb County
residents’ needs.
From there, SDD would
enroll participants to take care
of the cost of the purchase
with financial incentives.
As more people sign up,
the price per watt drops,
meaning the more people
who participate, the higher

discount. A solarize program
in Athens saw residential
pricing drop from $3.19 per
watt to $2.90 per watt.
A town hall event was
hosted on June 14 at Decatur
First United Methodist Church
with approximately 150
people in attendance. Gayer
said the event was to find
out specific concerns DeKalb
residents have about solar
energy.
“We’re sort of in the
building phase right now,”
Gayer said. “We are pulling
together a coalition of
people who will promote the
project. The town hall was a
chance to get feedback on
what’s important for people;
it could be price; it may be
components; it may be buying
local.”
Gayer said the primary
concern in DeKalb was
price. The average price for
solar installation, without
the Solarize discount or tax
credits, is approximately
$20,000.
“There’s a federal tax
credit that pays for a third
of that and we say Solarize
can knock another third off
of that,” Gayer said. “We’re
talking somewhere in the
range of $10,000. We’re
talking to local banks to
see what sort of financing
packages they can offer so
the system is paying for itself
in a very short time frame.”
SDD will take this input
and select a solar energy
company that reflects DeKalb
County’s energy needs.
Once a company is chosen,

See Solar on Page 5

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local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016 • Page 2A

Bikes a possible solution
to Dunwoody traffic
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
Dunwoody officials
discussed a possible plan
to bring more cyclists to
the Perimeter area during
a regularly scheduled city
council meeting.
Yvonne Williams,
president and chief
executive officer of the
Perimeter Community
Improvement District
(PCID), said Dunwoody
should look at ways of
incorporating alternative
means of transportation
such as bicycles to
maintain its position as a
“premier office and retail
market.”
Williams listed cycling
as a preference for young
professionals, a lifestyle
choice for emerging
markets and a worthwhile
commuting option due to
the region’s density.
“What would
infrastructure need to
look like to incorporate
bicycling?” Williams asked.
“Bicycling will support the
Perimeter in ways we’ve
never seen before. We
never thought 10 years
ago that the residential
community would have
density toward transit

stations,” she explained.
Williams outlined the
number of commuters who
bike to transit stations, use
MARTA and never enter a
car. She also mentioned
such strategies as thirdparty bike shares, which
allows bicycles to be
rented.
“We have a wealth of
amenities to where we can
have that type of program,”
Williams said.
According to Williams’
plan, implementing
correct cycling measures
begins with a promotional
campaign, government or
non-profit taking the lead,
developing committed
partners, proper funding
and proper infrastructure.
Dunwoody resident
Cheryl Summers voiced
a negative opinion to city
council, stating the initiative
was a “backdoor attempt
to implement a change to
[Dunwoody’s transportation
master plan].”
“[The master
transportation plan] is
supposed to be conducted
this year,” she said. “Here
we are throwing something
in that we haven’t even
considered. There’s been
no public comment, no
public surveys.”

Summers likened
the initiative to a May
2015 issue where a Tilly
Mill Road sidewalk plan
morphed into a discussion
about bicyclists, cars, leftturn lanes and sidewalks.
She spoke at that meeting
as well, stating she would
prefer more sidewalks
rather than more bike lanes
within city limits.
“It makes me question
who was involved in putting
this together,” Summers
said. “Could it be the same
people from our biking
community who are pushing
their own agenda again?
This should be tabled until
the master transportation
plan is presented.”
A new transportation
master plan for Dunwoody
is scheduled to be
completed this year. A
master plan is completed
every five years to “guide
the city’s capital budgeting”
each year according to city
documents.
The Comprehensive
Transportation Plan
approved March 2011
shows that Tilly Mill
Road was scheduled for
$200,000 in “signed bike
route and/or sharrows”
before 2015. ChambleeDunwoody Road is the

Dunwoody officials are considering bike options as a possible
solution to Perimeter region traffic. File photo/Travis Hudgons

only road scheduled for onstreet bike lanes between
2016 and 2020.
Councilman Doug
thompson said the council
should be responsive
to traffic issues in the
Dunwoody area.

Councilman terry nall
said it was one thing to
create biking infrastructure
in residential areas, but
another to link them to
commercial ones.

See Bikes on Page 4A

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DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016 • Page 3A

counTYWide

Cities agree on Peachtree Gateway Partnership
Four DeKalb County cities–Chamblee, Brookhaven, Doraville and
Dunwoody–have agreed on the Peachtree Gateway Partnership, “an
effort to make [an] already thriving part of metro Atlanta an even better
place to live, work and play.”
Home to three MARTA rail stations, a redeveloping General Motors
plant, an airport and interstate hub, Peachtree Gateway Partnership
states that its mission is to brand, improve and promote the general
area the three cities inhabit. In addition to branding, a news release
mentions a larger connected trail project as a future endeavor.
According to a release, the partnership was created by mayors
John Ernst (Brookhaven), Eric Clarkson (Chamblee), Donna Pittman
(Doraville) and Denis Shortal (Dunwoody). Leaders from local
businesses, such as DeKalb-Peachtree airport, have joined them.
“Doraville is extremely proud to be a part of the partnership,”
said Pittman. “We believe this will be a great collaboration with our
surrounding cities that will offer many opportunities to collaborate on a
variety of projects, resulting in very positive outcomes for all four cities.”
“So many neighboring communities around the Atlanta region are
working together for the good of their larger areas,” said Clarkson. “We
realized that we could be more successful if we join forces to promote
the many strengths and assets we share.”

cHaMblee

City permits DeKalb Police memorial
Chamblee City Council approved the establishment of a DeKalb
County law enforcement memorial at Dresden Park.
The monument, which is set to stand 5 feet long and 6 feet high, is
set to cost the North Decatur Lions Club $10,000. The memorial is in
the shape of DeKalb County and will feature the names of officers who
have died in the line of duty.
“This past year, we again heard much criticism of our law
enforcement officials and after much thought, decided that we should
again act,” reads a letter from Charlene Fang, who presented the item
to Chamblee’s City Council on June 21. “We decided that we should
have a memorial in DeKalb County to honor those police officers who
have been killed in the line of duty. A park setting was proposed and
Dresden Park was suggested.”
While the club encourages help in raising funds for the memorial,
the Lions Club has only asked for permission to create the memorial.
Dresden Park was acquired by Chamblee in February. It is located
at 2301 Dresden Drive.

decaTuR

Clerk of Superior Court to host eFile CLE training
DeKalb County Superior Court Clerk Debra DeBerry and Tyler
Technologies are hosting another free eFile CLE lunch and learn
training session on Friday, July 8, at 11 a.m. in the Jury Assembly
Room on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse, 556 N.
McDonough St., in downtown Decatur.
This training workshop is recommended by the clerk’s office for
any attorney and staff who file documents in DeKalb County Clerk’s
Office. “We are excited to begin the implementation of our new case
management system, Odyssey. This has long been a goal for me that
our county utilize and benefit from the best,” said DeBerry.
Contact Annette taylor by July 6 to reserve a seat at (404) 3712251 or ataylor@dekalbcountyga.gov.

History center announces July lunch and learn topic
DeKalb History Center’s next July lunch and learn will be presented
by Dr. tom Keating, educator and author of Saturday School: How
One Town Kept Out “The Jewish” 1902-32.
“For 30 years, Decatur’s school system held classes Tuesday
through Saturday; Keating wrote the book in 1998 to delve into the
reasons and history behind this practice.” states a release.
“Keating focuses his 45-year career as a teacher, administrator,
instructor, lobbyist and school board member on the Decatur practice
of holding the weekly holiday on Mondays—even though the majority of
parents and half the board of education opposed Saturday School,” the
release continued. The event is free and attendees are encouraged
to bring a bagged lunch. The lunch and learn will be held Tuesday
July 19, noon - 1 p.m. at DeKalb History Center, located in the historic
DeKalb courthouse, 101 E. Court Square in downtown Decatur.

doRaVille

Volunteers needed for Oakcliff Elementary makeover
Volunteers are needed for the Oakcliff Elementary School
makeover July 22 and July 23.
Located at 3151 Willow Oak Way in Doraville, Oakcliff was chosen
as this year’s Georgia United Credit Union’s 2016 School Crashers
grand prize winner. The prize entails a school makeover, complete with
grounds and facility improvements.
The school was awarded the makeover out of hundreds of schools
throughout Georgia. The selection was made after third-grader Chloe
Riggins submitted a 250-word essay explaining why the school
needed a makeover.
Volunteers are needed to carry out such tasks as painting,
landscaping, construction and supplying materials. All skill levels are
needed and bilingual volunteers are encouraged.
For more information on volunteering to makeover Oakcliff
Elementary School in Doraville, including registration, visit https://gucu.
org/about-us/community-development/school-crashers.

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016 • Page 4A

Malcolm appointed to
Assembly CID Board
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com

Assembly project, especially with his
financial expertise.”
According to city council records,
Malcolm has been a proponent
of property maintenance, singlefamily residential living, restricting
restaurant hours and attracting more
Doraville residents.
Doraville approved the creation
of a CID for the Assembly project on
May 9. CIDs are self-taxing districts
outlined by municipalities and
counties to help fund infrastructure
improvements. Property owners
within the CID will pay taxes, fees
and assessments that will go toward
paying for street construction,
maintenance, parks and recreation
areas, sewage and stormwater
improvements, public transportation,
parking and “other facilities as may
be provided for by general law.”
According to Doraville City
Manager Shawn Gillen, this means
the site’s redevelopment would be
primarily funded by property owners
within the district.
According to a Doraville
resolution passed in May, eight other
Assembly CID board members will
be chosen by a “caucus of electors”
and one board member will be
appointed by DeKalb County. The
document states the caucus will take
place within 90 days of the May 9
meeting.
The exact amount of money

Doraville City Council has taken
another step in redeveloping the
former General Motors site now
known as the Assembly.
On June 20, Mayor Donna
Pittman presented Alan Malcolm
as her choice to serve on Assembly’s
community improvement district
(CID) board, which will govern “taxes,
fees and assessments” at the site
with nine other board members.
“I cannot think of anyone that
would serve that position any better,”
Pittman said. “He’s a great finance
person and a great citizen. He’s been
here a long time and truly does care
about our community.”
Malcolm’s name is mentioned
in past Livable Centers Initiative
(LCI) steering committees, ethics
committees, city council agendas
and books about Doraville. He is a
lifelong Northwoods neighborhood
resident and Regions Bank vice
president.
“He is well respected by the
community and known for being fair,
levelheaded and very progressive,”
said Robert Kelley, public
information officer for Doraville. “He’s
very interested in Doraville’s future
and what is best for the city. He will
be an invaluable asset to the CID
venture since he is a big fan of the

The Doraville Assembly CID serves as a way to tax property within a defined
district.

that will be collected from CID
property owners has yet to be
established, as the complete
governing board has not been

chosen.
The Doraville City Council
unanimously approved Malcolm’s
appointment.

Tucker appoints city clerk, acting city manager
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Tucker now has a full-time city
clerk.
Jennifer Davis was
appointed as city clerk June 13
after a unanimous approval vote
by the city council. Davis has
experience as a city clerk and
accountant to other new cities
and provided accounting services
to Sandy Springs and Peachtree
Corners.
Davis also assisted in
the startup of Brookhaven’s
revenue department, including
creating forms, preparing

correspondences and following
up with business owners.
The Tucker City Council also
appointed tami Hanlin as acting
city manager. Hanlin is a senior
management consultant for
CH2M Operations Management
Services. CH2M was selected
by Tucker to provide municipal
services.
Hanlin has more than 25
years of experience in planning,
developing and implementing
services. She holds a master’s
degree in public administration
and is a certified manager of
community associations. She
also has experience in program

and project management and
organizational development and
communications planning and
execution.
Hanlin will serve as acting city
manager as she leads the search
for a candidate to fill the position
long term.
“We are looking forward
to helping Tucker establish a
responsive customer-centered
city government,” Hanlin said
in a released statement. “Our
first order of business will be
to establish a policy framework
based on the priorities of the
city council in order to ensure
that city operations are efficient,

transparent and accountable, in
order to deliver the high quality
of service the residents of Tucker
deserve.”
CH2M will manage the
city’s administration, finance
and community development
departments. The firm will perform
code enforcement, planning and
zoning, and building permitting
and inspections. The firm will also
handle administrative services,
including revenue collection,
financial support and general staff
support.
CH2M’s initial service contract
with Tucker ends in 2020.

BIKES Continued From Page 2A
“When you start talking about
biking, you hear a lot of buzzwords
like ‘live, work, play,’” Nall said.
“But is there any empirical
evidence that shows workers want
to bike to work? I see nothing that
says this will take 2,000 or 5,000

cars off the road.”
Councilwoman Lynn Deutsch
said the Perimeter area is
changing and Dunwoody should
be ahead of the curve.
“Traffic is going to drive
people to take alternative means

of transportation,” Deutsch said.
“I think it’s going to change the
decision making factors young
single people make in terms of
where they live. I’m interested to
see how this evolves.”
Mayor Denis Shortal and

councilman John Heneghan said
the city should do whatever is
possible to foster an alternative to
driving in Dunwoody.
“To sit here and do nothing is a
mistake,” Shortal said. “We have to
think outside the box on this.”

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016

local

SOlar Continued From Page 1A
SDD also will facilitate site
evaluations, proposals and
installation. The coalition also
will provide information on tax
incentives and grants.
“When we launch, we’ll
have a three-month window
where people can decide if they
sign up,” Gayer said. “You’ll
get a free site evaluation and
then have the option to sign a
contract. We have a residential
side and a more commercial
and municipal side. This helps
deal with the barriers people
face when they want to put solar
panels on their roof.”
Barriers mentioned include
expense, confusion in the
bidding and warranty process
and overall hesitancy in making
a drastic home change.
“We do all that for you,”
Gayer said.
She said there’s a big push
for solar energy on both the
state and national level. She
said in Georgia alone, increases
have come in several hundred
percent increments.
“You see sharp increases
in the amount of solar energy
coming online,” Gayer said.
“We’re installing more solar
capacity than we are natural
gas, nuclear or coal. We’re in
the middle of a revolution in

how we generate energy and
what that looks like. [Georgia]
has gone from basically zero
to 1,000 megawatts in the
pipeline.”
Gayer said the environmental
benefits, home property value
increases and permanent
source of energy makes going
solar a great choice over
traditional means or energy.
“The traditional energy picture
causes all sorts of problems.
There’s all sorts of negative
externalities that come with
fossil fuels and nuclear power,”
Gayer said. “The one we’re
grappling with here in Georgia is
the issue of coal ash. We’re just
now coming to terms with the
fact that we have these ponds
full of toxic sludge all over our
state.”
Gayer consideres the town
hall meeting held June 14 a
success and hopes to keep
the momentum going as the
solarizing process continues.
“Decatur and DeKalb County
have the sun, the engaged
citizens, and the possible
workforce to be a solar leader in
the South,” Gayer said. “Solar
energy is a proven, pollutionfree resource, Solarize DecaturDeKalb will help jump start our
community’s big solar potential.”

Page 5

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016

opinion

Page 6

Letter to the Editor
Dear Mr. Hewitt,
I enjoyed reading your
column “Summertime and the
living is easy.” I remember the
summers of my youth in rural
Tennessee filled with many fun
and carefree times. I lived in an
extended family on my maternal
grandparents’ farm. My uncle
raised many crops for market
and my brothers and others
would chop cotton, pick okra,
purple hull peas and soybeans.
I worked in the garden with my
mother and helped to prepare
vegetables and fruits from the
orchard for canning or freezing.
My main job was housecleaning
and doing the laundry in a
ringer washing machine.
The weather was very hot
without air-conditioning until the

late evening. I loved summer
thunderstorms that would make
the dust smell so earthy and
clean, and would cool us off
a bit. The grownups would sit
outside in the late evenings
talking while old rags burned to
keep away the mosquitos. We
children would play hide-andseek until it was too dark to see.
Sometimes my mother would
tell scary stories, and I would be
too afraid to go inside alone.
As Black people living in
the South during the time
of segregation, life had its
challenges; however, there were
many good times spent going
to movies in town, barbecuing,
enjoying homemade ice cream,
and taking an occasional trip
to the city, Memphis, to shop
or visit the zoo. Sometimes we

would have visitors from the
North or from California and
North Carolina.
I often complained about the
heat and having to work in the
garden. I didn’t like sweating
and looking ugly. My mother
and grandmother and I covered
completely in cotton shirts,
pants, and we wore straw
hats. I wasn’t fond of that look.
They believed in protecting
themselves from the sun even
before we knew about its
harmful rays.
As a young girl I wanted
a city-life filled with parties
and dancing, but that wasn’t
available to me. As I look back,
I appreciate what my family was
about–hard work, taking care of
their business, and carving out
a piece of the American dream

for us.
There are many things from
the past that I hold dear, yet I
know there is no going back,
and if I could, I would have to
experience all. Therefore, I
move forward through the rest
of my life, not as carefree or
as optimistic as I once was,
yet grateful for the opportunity
to experience life during these
fast-paced and sometimes too
exciting times. I am thankful
for the journey. Thanks for
the memories. I appreciate
sharing with someone who
understands. My young people
want no part of my past.
Sincerely,
Barbara G. Armstrong

opinion

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016

Page 7

Let’s finish the mission
“With your help we can begin
to change the narrative and the
direction of our DeKalb County.
We can end the toxic pairing of
corruption and incompetence
so prevalent in so many areas
of our county government...
and changing direction means
a need to change leadership.
Let’s finish the mission!”
-DeKalb County businessman
and DeKalb Commission District
4 candidate Steve Bradshaw
during recent remarks to his
supporters.
A low but discerning number
of DeKalb County voters
began the challenging work of
improving the reputation and
performance of DeKalb’s county
government during the May
general primary elections. Runoff
elections will occur on Tuesday,
July 26, and early voting begins
Tuesday, July 5.
DeKalb voters overwhelmingly
selected Solicitor Sherry
Boston as their next district
attorney, and gave a decisive
Democratic primary victory to the
party nominee for CEO, Michael
Thurmond.
Though the angry, antiincumbent, anti-establishment
mood of the presidential
electorate did not filter down to
these local elections, DeKalb
voters did make changes in
its legislative delegation, and
did not in all cases return
incumbents to office or even to
their party nomination.
The Honest Government
of DeKalb PAC, drawing on
a broad and diverse crosssection of community leaders,
activists and stakeholders, had

‘One Man’s
Opinion’
Bill Crane

bill.csicrane@gmail.com

a good run with its series of
endorsements. And even on
races where the group could not
reach an endorsement decision,
candidates the PAC opposed
did not make it into the runoff
elections.
On the DeKalb County
commission, better working
relationships should
be developed with the
office of CEO, as well as
among the commissioner
themselves. Several current
members of the commission
barely speak to each other, and
less than adult behavior is often
presented in a wide array of
forums as a result.
On controversial issues
ranging from the creation,
structure and funding of
DeKalb’s Ethics Commission,
use of purchasing cards,
stronger control/audit procedures
for county government contracts
to the purchase of YMCA’s and
other properties with county
Park SPLOST funding; the
commission votes are typically
decided in a repeating 4/3
split. The resignation of Super
District 7 Commissioner Stan
Watson, who left to seek the
office of tax commissioner,
returned the board to a frequent
3/3 tie, as had occurred for
nearly two years during the open
seat for District 5.

The current makeup of the
commission, with the 4/3 vote
split, generally opposed more
funding and authority for the
ethics commission, did not
support the immediate end
of P-card use, has opposed
stronger purchasing procedures,
audits and controls and was
moving in the direction of
acquiring the East DeKalb
YMCA, despite another YMCA
facility already under county
ownership a few miles away.
Paraphrasing former
President Bill Clinton during
his successful White House run
in 1992, Democratic District 4’s
leading candidate in the Primary
election, Bradshaw often says,
“There is nothing wrong with
DeKalb County that we cannot
solve with all that is right with
DeKalb County.”
Incumbent Commissioner
Sharon Barnes-Sutton has run
a campaign without participating
in numerous candidate forums
and debates, focusing on
identifying and turning out her
supporters and often making
attacks of a more personal
nature against her challenger. I
will note that the commissioner
has done some good in her
district, and public service is
no cake walk, but the general
perception most often repeated
concerns self-service trumping
public service on matters
ranging from P-card usage to
free YMCA memberships for the
commissioner and her staff.
This runoff includes
critical local elections for
tax commissioner, county
commissioner and several

legislative posts across the
region. Though an even
smaller turnout is projected and
expected—nearly 80 percent of
DeKalb voters who did not vote
in the primary are eligible to vote
in the runoff elections. The only
things active voters cannot do
is crossover from voting in one
party primary to another political
party’s primary runoff. You have
to stay in the lane you earlier
selected.
The property tax bills you pay,
and county government policy
ranging from water rates to
garbage pick-up schedules and
road resurfacing, as well as the
direction of the county’s police
and public safety functions, are
all locally controlled.
If you like the way things
have been going, you have
an easy choice. Stay at home
or vote the full slate of run-off
incumbents. But if you are like
me—concerned and regularly
experiencing great pause over
the cause and direction of our
county—then pay attention,
attend candidate forums,
speak with community leaders,
neighbors and others seeking to
help DeKalb turn a corner and
let’s finish the mission.
Bill Crane also serves as a
political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News,
WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and now
95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for
The Champion, Champion Free
Press and Georgia Trend. Crane
is a DeKalb native and business
owner, living in Scottdale. You can
reach him or comment on a column at bill.csicrane@gmail.com.

Subscribe to The Champion Newspaper
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Publisher:
John Hewitt

Photographer:
Travis Hudgons

Chief Financial Officer:
Dr. Earl D. Glenn

Staff Reporters:
carla parker
R. Scott Belzer
Horace Holloman

Production Manager:
Kemesha Hunt

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STATEMENT FROM THE
PUBLISHER
We sincerely appreciate the
discussion surrounding this and any
issue of interest to DeKalb County.
The Champion was founded in 1991
expressly to provide a forum for
discourse for all community residents
on all sides of an issue. We have no
desire to make the news only to
report news and opinions to effect
a more educated citizenry that will
ultimately move our community
forward. We are happy to present
ideas for discussion; however,
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local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016 • Page 8A

Doraville and Chamblee LCI grant goes to third-place firm
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
The city of Doraville
recently awarded a Buford
Highway consultant contract
to a team that cumulatively
scored lower than two other
firms that also submitted
bids.
On June 20 and June
21, Canvas Planning
Group, an Atlanta-based
community planning group,
was awarded consulting
duties on a $96,000 Livable
Centers Initiative (LCI) grant
awarded to Doraville and
Chamblee in February.
The Atlanta Regional
Commission (ARC)
awarded the two cities the
$96,0000 grant to help
revitalize Buford Highway’s
connectivity, affordable
housing and pedestrian
safety. Doraville and
Chamblee will be required to
make a 20 percent match.
The two cities recently
signed an intergovernmental
agreement outlining
responsibilities of how the
LCI will be spent. Doraville
opted to select, work with
and pay consultants while
Chamblee chose to provide
space for public meetings
and give city-specific input.
Both cities took part in
the selection of Canvas’s
project team made up of
Aaron Fortner, Ryan
Gravel, Joel Mann, Calvin
Gladney, Carlos Perez,
Marian Liou and Mary
Caroline Russell. Their
rates, according to the

Aaron Fortner

Marian Liou

Ryan Gravel

project proposal, will range
from $75 per hour to $175
per hour, with salaries
ranging from $750 to
$48,750.
Gravel’s firm, Sixpitch,
is known for the Atlanta
Beltline project while Liou
is known for her work in We
Love BuHi, an enterprise
advocating for a brighter
Buford Highway future.
Fortner, Canvas’s founder,
is also known for his role
as Atlanta’s city planner
and working on the Atlanta
Beltline’s master plan.
While the three names
may be considered
reputable by some, criteria
for awarding the project
included understanding
of the area, experience,
accountability and past work
in the region.
On that criteria, Canvas
ranked lower than two other
firms.
Council members Dawn
o’Connor and Sharon
Spangler questioned
Doraville’s Director of
Economic Development

Luke Howe on the selection
committee’s process and
scoring method in choosing
Canvas, as two other firms,
Atlanta’s TSW Planning and
Washington, D.C.’s LSL
Planning, scored higher.
Canvas scored 75 out of
a possible 100, with four of
six members of the selection
committee ranking the firm
third. LSL Planning scored
84 while TSW scored 83.

“How did you come up
with those score totals?
There’s kind of a vast
difference between some of
those,” O’Connor said.
Howe said Canvas
stood apart as a candidate
during the two-day interview
process.
“We came to the
unanimous decision to offer
Canvas Planning to both
Doraville and Chamblee
city councils,” Howe said.
“They did score lower on the
quantitative measure. But
they did an outstanding job
on their interview and blew
us away.”
Howe said none of the
proposals were “overly
impressive” and looked
“boilerplate,” making
them difficult to score. He
specifically mentioned
Gravel’s Chamblee
roots, passion for Buford
Highway and experience

in working with the
Georgia Department of
Transportation (GDOT) as
deciding factors.
“The crux of this is going
to be transportation,” Howe
said. “That’s going to require
[GDOT’s] cooperation. Their
enthusiasm, thoughtfulness
on the project, and ability to
effect change for the project
set them apart.”
Enrique Bascunana,
community development
director for Doraville,
echoed Howe’s
methodology.
“Their tendency to think
outside the box and come
up with creative solutions
is really applicable to what
can possibly occur for the
Buford Highway corridor,”
Bascunana said.
Chamblee city council
also approved the choice
of Canvas at its June 21
meeting.

Did you know?

According to needs assessment data, heavy and binge drinking in
DeKalb County is a particular concern.
Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of alcohol consumption that
which brings the blood alcohol concentration level to 0.08% or or
more. Binge drinking is 5 or more drinks on a single occasion for men and 4 or
more on a single occasion for females. Heavy drinking is defined as consuming
15 drinks or more per week for men or 8 or more drinks per week for women.
Nineteen percent of adults or nearly one-fifth of adults 18-25 years of age in
DeKalb County reported binge or heavy drinking making this behavior higher
than the state and national average. Be Safe DeKalb!

For more information
Call (770) 285-6037 or
E-mail: beyondthebell@comcast.net

NOTICE
TheCityofChambleeCityCouncildoesherebyannouncethatthemillageratewillbesetatameetingtobeheldattheChambleeCivic
Centerlocatedat3540BroadStreet,Chamblee,GeorgiaonJuly7,2016at6:00PMandpursuanttotherequirementsofGa.Code
48Ͳ5Ͳ32doesherbypublishthefollowingpresentationofthecurrentyear'staxdigestandlevy,alongwiththehistoryofthetaxdigest
andlevyforthepastfiveyears.
CURRENT 2016 TAX DIGEST AND FIVE YEAR HISTORY OF LEVY

Real&Personal
MotorVehicles&HeavyEquipment
PublicUtilities
GrossDigest
LessExemptions
AdjustedNetDigest
GrossMillageRage
NetTaxesLevied
NetTaxes$Increase
NetTaxes%increase

2011
797,623,949
14,131,410
11,087,937
822,843,296
88,432,680
734,410,616

2012
729,978,100
22,076,110
9,128,386
761,182,596
83,119,557
678,063,039

2013
723,574,965
27,471,830
9,726,659
760,773,454
86,685,769
674,087,685

2014
991,264,465
23,809,872
10,289,198
1,025,363,535
136,343,322
889,020,213

2015
1,123,309,202
20,050,020
15,151,224
1,158,510,446
147,895,254
1,010,615,192

2016
1,260,612,144
15,797,850
13,476,415
1,289,886,409
152,537,275
1,137,349,134

7.4

7.4

6.4

6.4

6.4

6.4

5,434,639

5,017,666

4,314,161

5,689,729

6,467,937

7,279,034

1,360,970
33.41%

(416,972)
Ͳ7.67%

(703,505)
Ͳ14.02%

1,375,568
31.88%

778,208
13.68%

811,097
12.54%

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016 • Page 9A

Fliers informing residents about ongoing litigation in Doraville and LGBT rights have been dismissed by city officials.

Sticks and stones
Doraville mailers
raise questions on
social, legal issues
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
Despite the sticks and stones
adage, when the words involve
misrepresenting local government,
it gets a little more complicated, as
is the case with the city of Doraville.
Since early June, some
Doraville residents have found at
least two sets of fliers in their mail.
One claims Doraville is raising
taxes due to pending lawsuits and
lawyers while the other, which
features the Doraville city logo, calls
for Doraville officials to formally
recognize the lesbian, bisexual,
gay, transgender and queer
(LBGTQ) community.
Many residents have regularly
contacted the city about the
mailings.
On June 20, the issue seemed
to hit fever pitch as Mayor Donna
Pittman began a scheduled
city council meeting with an
announcement addressing the
fliers, stating they do not represent
the city in any way.
“Many of our citizens are getting
postcards with what I would call
propaganda,” Pittman said. “It
has the Doraville logo on it. We’re
checking into that, however, it is not
from the city of Doraville. The logo
is being used illegally.”
Pittman said she and city council
members have been contacted
by concerned residents who were
angry they received the fliers.
Doraville resident Susan Fraysse

suggested the city copyright its
logo, making it illegal to use without
permission.
“I don’t want any confusion such
as this postcard suggests,” Fraysse
said. “When they use [Doraville’s]
logo, I resent it. They are not
speaking on behalf of the city, they
weren’t elected by anybody. [Some]
people don’t always follow up with
things and they won’t understand.”
Doraville made an official

the day the United States Supreme
Court ruled in favor of gay marriage.
Jill Chambers, a representative
of Oasis Goodtime Emporium,
said she sent one the mailers,
which informed residents about the
city’s ongoing litigation with certain
businesses including Oasis.
Since Oasis was annexed into
city limits, it has been illegal for the
establishment to serve liquor while
also providing adult entertainment

ordinances. At Doraville’s June
6 meeting, representatives from
Shooter Alley, which has closed its
doors since the new ordinances
have been enforced, also voiced
their concerns, citing discriminatory
practices.
Chambers, via the mailer, said
Sandy Springs has been in a similar
litigation battle for more than 11
years.
“The motions and filings are

‘Many of our citizens are
getting postcards with what
I would call propaganda.’
– Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman
statement via email stating the fliers
contained “distorted facts regarding
Doraville council actions and
policies.”
“If anyone has received these
mailings, be assured they do not
represent nor do they correctly
express the efforts being put
forth by city leaders on behalf of
Doraville’s citizens,” the statement
reads, also stating legal action is
being considered.
The specific flier with Doraville’s
logo addresses attempts made by
Queer Youth for Equality asking
officials to formally recognize June
26 as LGBT Day, as June 26 was

such as nude dancers. The
business has since been in a legal
battle with Doraville with the city
going as far as not cashing tax
checks from Oasis.
“I don’t know about propaganda,
but I did send an orange postcard–
my name is on it,” Chambers said.
“The total was $422,000 as of
Nov. 11, 2015. The lawyers have
probably continued to bill the city
since then, so it’s probably over half
a million dollars by now.”
Chambers, a regular attendee
of Doraville City Council meetings,
argues Oasis should be able
to serve alcohol under county

almost identical,” Chambers said.
“Same fees, same ordinances.
Sandy Springs has already paid
more than $700,000 on this. How
much more is Doraville going to
continue to spend to continue to
litigate, when, if you accept the
DeKalb agreement, it would all be
over in six years?”
Doraville has been unable to
publicly respond to Chambers’
assertions, as litigation issues
are typically handled in executive
session behind closed doors. City
officials have also hinted that any
sort of response would validate
claims they view as false.

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016 • Page 10A

File photo/Travis Hudgons

DeKalb BOC changes committee meeting time
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
The DeKalb County Board
of Commissioners approved a
resolution June 28 to allow the first
monthly committee of the whole
meeting to be held at 5 p.m. instead
of 10 a.m.
The resolution was enacted
after DeKalb County residents
complained that early-morning
meetings were too difficult to attend
due to scheduling.
According to the resolution, the
5 p.m. meeting times will “ensure
adequate opportunity for the
public to attend the first monthly
Committee of the Whole meeting.”
Committee of the Whole
meetings are generally held on
the first and third Tuesday of every
month.

Commissioner Kathie Gannon
said she’s supportive of the time
change.
“I think it’s a good way for
the board to be responsive to the
community and hopefully they
take the opportunity to come down
and visit and give us a comment,”
Gannon said. “We had people—
citizens coming to meetings
and suggesting that we hold the
meetings at night so that more
citizens can get involved.”
The 5 p.m. meetings will
be held at different locations
throughout DeKalb County.
Although the locations have yet to
be determined, Gannon said the
meetings will likely be held in public
libraries.
The resolution also added a
30-minute public comment section
to the evening meetings. Gannon

said the commissioners decided not
to extend the public speaking time
despite resident complaints.
“We rarely use the 30 minutes
of public speaking time. People
were not interested in extending the
public speaking time, but I think this
is a step in the right direction. We’ll
have to do a good job of getting the
word out,” Gannon said. “It’s all right
to shake it up every now and then.”
However, some DeKalb County
residents feel the meeting time
change isn’t enough.
Jeff Long, 51, a lifelong
resident of DeKalb County, said
5 p.m. still doesn’t give residents
adequate time to commute from
work to meetings.
“What does that really gain us?”
asked Long. “Some of us have
pretty horrendous commutes so 5
p.m. would still be a struggle. Now

if they want to move comment time
to the end of the meeting that might
work.”
Long said he feels the board of
commissioners should revise the
rules at it relates to the amount of
time allocated to public comment.
“When you go to Fulton County
or to Atlanta and they see there
are an extra number of people that
have a comment to make they
allow them to talk. I’ve never seen
that with DeKalb County. (DeKalb
County) cuts everybody off at 10
speakers,” said Long, who works
as a government consultant outside
DeKalb County. “I really would like
to see the board of commissioners
meeting moved back. I’m not really
interested in the committee of the
whole. The board of commissioners
should be more sensitive to our
time.”

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• Name and password requirement
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greater account management.

For more information or to pay your bill online,
please visit us at www.dekalbwatershed.com.
¹ $4 processing fee will apply; fee can be avoided with auto-pay.

This sweetie qualifies for our June “Make Waves”
promotion. Adoption fee is Waived for dogs over 25
lbs. and for all cats!
Adoption includes
spay/neuter,
vaccinations,
microchip and
more! If you
would like more information
about Joy please email
adoption@dekalbanimalservices.
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to ensure Joy goes to a good
home.

local

WeeKinPICTURES

Rep. Hank Johnson was one of many congressman to participate in a June 22
sit-in demanding a vote take place on legislation. Photo submitted.

the DeKalb County Bar Association was honored with the Best Website Award for
voluntary bar associations with 251 to 500 members, presented June 17 during the
Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Georgia at Amelia island, Fla.

Dignitaries from Portugal visited Clarkston Community Center to observe the city’s practices
in welcoming refugees. Photo submitted.

Marist’s Will Kingsfield placed eighth in the javelin throw (18707) at the USAtF Junior national outdoor track and Field
Championships in Clovis, Calif.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016 • Page 11A

A Portuguese delegation observed children participating in Clarkston
Community Center’s summer camp program to learn how the city has
embraced a refugee community. Photo submitted.

Armored trucks sit at the Army national Guard Armory in Decatur.

PHOTOS BROUGHT TO YOU BY DCTV
DeKalb County implements changes to garbage and recycling container requirements and collection
procedures April 18, 2016.
Only county-provided garbage and recycling containers are approved for sanitation collection service.
For more info, call or visit:

(404) 294-2900
www.rollingforwardtoone.com

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016 • Page 12A

Consultant suggests county admin buildings move, consolidate
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
DeKalb County officials may
be looking for a new home after
a Chicago-based consulting
company suggested the county’s
administrative buildings do not
adequately serve their residents.
In a DeKalb Board of
Commissioners workshop
meeting held at Tucker Reid H.
Cofer Library, Vice President of
JLL Jeremy Becker said one of
DeKalb County’s administrative
buildings did not serve residents to
the best of its potential, specifically
the Manuel J Maloof Center
located at 1300 Commerce Drive.
In an 86-page report to the
commissioners, Becker suggested
the board consolidate and move to
the corner of Kensington Road and
Memorial Drive.
According to JLL’s research,
the potential new site would be
centrally located within DeKalb
County and would allow easy
access to Interstate 285.

“We looked at your
administrative footprint and we
looked at your buildings and said,
‘where are they (located) and at
the end of the day do they best
serve your customers? Or do they
serve your customers the best
that they can?’ And I think it’s fair
to say the answer to that is likely
no,” Becker said. “You have a lot
of administrative buildings that
are certainly past their useful
life. Administrative buildings in
downtown Decatur are difficult for
customers.”
Becker said the research
included interviews and surveys
with more than 25 government
employees.
“As a whole, people are
supportive of the concept of
making their lives easier. We spent
significant time with interviews,
research and analysis. We came
up with a consolidated facility that’s
centrally located and the proposed
configuration makes it customer
File photo/Travis Hudgons

See DeKalb on Page 14A

Annexation back on the table for Avondale Estates
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
With the possibility of the
proposed city of Greenhaven,
which features all of
unincorporated DeKalb County
in its map, Avondale Estates
has launched an annexation
discussion.
The Avondale Estates Board
of Mayor and Commissioners
discussed annexation at its June
15 work session. The topic was
brought up after Commissioner
Brian Fisher sent an email about
revisiting annexation to Mayor
Jonathan Elmore and City
Manager Clai Brown.
“I am for [annexation] based
upon the feasibility study—on
some of the things we are doing
downtown. I feel like if we’re going
to do it then we need to start
talking about it now and have a
game plan so that if we’re going to
start [on] Jan.1 we got something
in someone’s lap so that we’re able
to get enough public conversation
[with] those that may be affected
so it’s not a surprise or hurry up.”
Last year, the city considered
annexing two areas. One area
includes commercial property north
of the city along East Ponce De
Leon Avenue, the old Avondale
Middle School property and
residential property northeast of
the city along Old Rockbridge Road
and the DeKalb School of the Arts
and residential property south the
city along Berkeley Road.
The second area also includes

properties along Old Rockbridge
Road and Berkeley Road, in
addition includes residential
properties west of the city along
Katie Kerr Drive and South
Columbia Drive. Earlier this year,
the city decided not to pursue
annexation plans for the remainder
of 2016.
In his email, Fisher suggested
looking at amending the proposed
map.
“As you look at it, I think the
Katie Kerr area it’s separated from
us by a creek,” he said. “I think it
would be a mistake not to include
Decatur Terrace into it. Why
would we invest that money into
downtown and the most walkable
piece of it is not part of our
downtown? I think we have to have
some consensus to run this group.
Do we really want to engage in this
or not? If we do, then let’s take the
necessary steps. If we don’t, then
let’s table it and be done with this
for a period of time.
“We need to go ahead and
schedule a meeting way in
advance for residents to give input
so that we can go to the elected
officials and say this is what we
want to get done and [these are]
the steps we’ve taken,” Fisher
added.
Commissioner Randy Beebe
agreed with Fisher.
“I think we do need to get on
top of this because I think it’s going
to hit us quickly next year with
Greenhaven,” Beebe said. “I think
we need to come up with a map for
annexation.”

Avondale Estates has gone back to discussing annexation.

During the last annexation
discussion, which caught residents
and property owners by surprise,
some property owners spoke

against annexation. Property
owners included the American
Legion Post 66 on Covington
See Annexation on Page 14A

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016 • Page 13A

Art park coming to Avondale Estates
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
After a short discussion, the
Avondale Estates Board of Mayor
and Commissioners approved
an interim agreement to provide
funding to the city’s Downtown
Development Authority for an art
park.
The board voted 4-1 to
approve the agreement at its
June 22 special called meeting.
Commissioner terry Giager was
the lone “no” vote.
According to the city, the
Avondale Arts Alliance, artists,
local residents and businesses
proposed to create a temporary city
park—the Art Lot—in an underused
space at 70 North Avondale Road
near the Tudor Village Building.
The proposed project would turn
the unused land into a pop-up art
park to create a temporary public
space where locals and visitors can
explore various art works.
It could also have other
daily uses, according to the city.
The project goal is to support
and increase pedestrian safety,
neighborhood identity and
beautification along the four-lane
corridor of North Avondale Road,
according to the city.
The board of mayor and
commissioners approved an
intergovernmental agreement
that provides interim funding of
$36,000 to the DDA for 90 days
while the city negotiates a long-term
intergovernmental agreement. The
original agreement called for the

city to pay the DDA $42,500 before
the board agreed to reduce the
amount.
Giager said he did not have a
problem with funding the DDA, but
with funding the project as it stands.

don’t have, and that’s why they
were popular. Most of them were
opened for one day, maybe two—
on a weekend, some for a week
and I found one that was open for
two weeks.

‘I think this is a unique
opportunity for us to try
something, to invest in
our city.’
– Avondale Estates Mayor Jonathan Elmore
“The solution, in my opinion,
should be that we do some shortterm work, let them run it for two
weeks or a month. I would suggest
that we give them a lot less, maybe
$4,000, do some of their festivals,
whatever they want to do and see
what happens.”
Giager was also doubtful that
the Art Lot would be as successful
in Avondale Estates as it has been
in other larger cities.
“All of them were in major
metropolitan cities in the densest,
most pedestrian-traffic areas with
thriving businesses surrounding
them,” he said. “Therefore, they
have the pedestrian traffic that we

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NOTE: All comments are CONFIDENTIAL
and are not shared with the health care
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but they must be sent in writing to the Magnet
Program Office.
•Your comments must be received by July 17, 2016.
Address: AMERICAN NURSES CREDENTIALING
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MAGNET RECOGNITION PROGRAM OFFICE
8515 Georgia Ave., Suite 400
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Mayor Jonathan Elmore said
the project would be event-driven.
“It’s not pedestrian driven,”
Elmore said. “We want to attract
pedestrians but the way we’re doing
that is with events.
“I think this is a unique
opportunity for us to try something,
to invest in our city, to put our
money where our mouth is,” Elmore
said. “We’re going to try and keep
this thing up and running for as
long as we can. I think this is a
worthwhile risk and a worthwhile
investment.”
The city first mentioned the
proposed project on June 16
through a news release posted on

its website. The board discussed
the project for the first time publicly
at its June 20 regular meeting, and
some residents spoke out against
the project citing the cost and that
the project felt rushed.
During the June 22 meeting,
resident Elizabeth Goodstein
asked the board to give the public
more time for discussion.
“I’m not sure this level of
financial input should go forward
without a clear financial accounting
of the risks and of the possibilities
of a real return on the investment,”
Goodstein said. “I think it’s a
wonderful idea to do something
downtown. We all hope to get
something going but when we try
to accomplish complex projects
we really need a longer discussion
period, we need more input and we
need all of the voices and all the
expertise to come in. Give us more
time. Let everyone get involved,
let’s have some open conversation.”
Business owner Rachel Herzog
said the city needs to take a chance
on a project such as the Art Lot.
“As business owners, opening
a business in Avondale Estates,
we took a big chance to live here
and we want to see it flourish,”
Herzog said. “What I’m hearing
makes me sad because we are
taking a chance. I feel like the city
is not. If we don’t do something,
businesses are not going to come
here. This is an amazing chance for
us. You guys need to take a chance
because we all have.”
The city expects the park to
open in August.

NOTICE OF PROPERTY TAX INCREASE

The Board of Education of the City of Decatur has
tentatively adopted a millage which will remain the same as
the Fiscal Year 2016 millage rate of 18.66 mills; however due
to property reassessments, this will represent an average
increase of 0.80% in property taxes.
All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearing on
this tax increase to be held at the Board Room of the Central
Office, 125 Electric Avenue, Decatur, Georgia on tuesday,
July 12, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
This tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 18.66
mills, an increase of 0.148 mills over the rollback millage.
The rollback millage rate is calculated to produce the same
total revenue on the current year’s digest that last year’s
millage rate would have produced had no reassessments
occurred. Without this tentative tax increase, the rollback
millage rate will be no more than 18.512 mills. The
proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value
of $400,000 is approximately $30 and the proposed tax
increase for nonhomestead property with a fair market value
of $475,000 is approximately $36.

local

DEKALB

Continued From Page 12A
friendly,” Becker said.
Becker said county
facilities have roughly
$28 million in deferred
maintenance cost.
During a June 10
commissioner workshop
meeting, Commissioner
Jeff Rader said he
would like to see more
analysis before making a
decision on consolidating
administrative buildings.
“The observation I have
is that a lot of the analysis
we’ve seen only supports
one recommendation. So
we have a decision which
is ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ It seems to
me this is a multi-variant
type of equation and not
necessarily one that takes
you to a single government
tower,” Rader said of JLL’s
recommendation. “It’s not
to say we wouldn’t come to
the same answer, but even
your configuration as a
tower is an assumption. I’m
struggling with supporting
the conclusion.”
The cost of
constructing a new
government center is
included on the Special
Local Option Sales Tax
(SPLOST).
The total project,
listed as DeKalb County
Government Center,
is projected to cost
the county $40 million,
accounting for 9 percent of
SPLOST funding.
Commissioner Larry
Johnson said other
counties have made a
one-tower system work.
Johnson said Sandy
Springs used an old
Target store site for its
government center to
create a “one-stop shop”
for its customers.
The Target store
building, located on
Roswell Road, cost the
city roughly $8 million to
renovate, according to
reports.
“This is a new trend.
Alpharetta is doing the
same thing where they
are taking the library and
transforming it,” Johnson
said. “What we currently
have are a lot of leases
out there. The customers
that we serve have to go to
Memorial Drive for taxes,
over here for water, then
get on the bus line and try
to do certain things. It’s
very difficult. We need to
make it more accessible.
Why not contribute to
economic development?”

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016 • Page 14A

ANNEXATION Continued From Page 12A
Highway.
Commissioner terry Giager
said the American Legion and other
commercial properties will get on
board with an Avondale annexation
if Greenhaven becomes a real
possibility.
“I think we have to be prepared
because we don’t know what’s going
to happen,” Giager said.
Elmore said he is in support of
annexation more now than before.

“I’m still in favor of it because
I think it’s in our best long-term
interest for economic growth and
now it’s sort of protection against
Greenhaven annexing stuff that we
would like to annex,” he said.
Elmore mentioned that former
Decatur mayor Bill Floyd, who is
chairman of the DeKalb Municipal
Association, thinks all DeKalb cities
should get together and look at their
maps, work out any overlaps and

eliminate any islands.
“Everybody needs to realize that
any island that’s created over there
with the Legion—it’s not going to
Chamblee, it’s not going to Decatur;
it’s only going to us,” Elmore said.
“The legislators are not going to
leave it just sitting there. They’re
going to put it in our plan no matter
what, but we do need to reach out.
We should definitely move forward.”

notiCE
the Board of Education of the City of Decatur does hereby announce that the millage rate will be set at a meeting to be held at the
Board Room of the Central office at 125 Electric Avenue, Decatur, Georgia on tuesday, July 12, 2016 at 6:30 PM
and pursuant to the requirements of o.C.G.A. 48-5-32, does hereby publish the following presentation of the current year's tax digest
and levy, along with the history of the tax digest and levy for the past five years.

CURREnt 2016 tAX DiGESt AnD FiVE YEAR HiStoRY oF LEVY
Fiscal Year

2011

2012

Assessment Ratio
REAL PROPERTY
PERSONAL PROPERTY
PUBLIC UTILITIES
MOTOR VEHICLE
GROSS DIGEST
LESS M&O EXEMPTIONS
NET M&O DIGEST

50%
1,149,844,600
21,146,700
18,933,750
46,119,000
1,236,044,050
65,428,635
1,170,615,415

GROSS M&O MILLAGE
LESS ROLLBACKS
NET M&O MILLAGE
NET TAXES LEVIED

2013

$24,465,862

NET TAXES $ INCREASE
NET TAXES % INCREASE

50%

1,694,990,829
23,048,831
15,658,734
26,623,700
1,760,322,094
84,747,413
1,675,574,681

18.66
0.00
18.66

$27,583,642

$81,181
0.33%

50%

1,593,567,251
23,124,213
15,236,377
35,521,587
1,667,449,428
65,148,453
1,602,300,975

20.50
0.00
20.50

$24,929,294

$382,251
1.56%

50%

1,326,224,078
22,086,973
15,152,714
47,331,663
1,410,795,428
65,251,923
1,345,543,505

20.90
0.00
20.90

$24,848,113

$1,140,561
4.89%

50%

1,168,516,565
23,211,680
14,639,953
52,979,900
1,259,348,098
66,558,918
1,192,789,180

20.90
0.00
20.90

PRoPoSED
2016

2015

50%

1,168,366,733
22,174,136
14,297,200
49,311,000
1,254,149,069
65,244,138
1,188,904,931

20.90
0.00
20.90

2014

18.66
0.00
18.66

$29,898,936

$2,654,348
10.65%

$31,266,224

$2,315,294
8.39%

$1,367,287
4.57%

THE DEKALB COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, DOES HEREBY ANNOUNCE THAT THE MILLAGE RATE WILL BE SET AT A MEETING
TO BE HELD AT THE MANUEL J. MALOOF CENTER AUDITORIUM, 1300 COMMERCE DRIVE, DECATUR, GEORGIA 30030 ON JULY 12, 2016
AT 10:00 A.M. AND ALL CONCERNED CITIZENS ARE INVITED TO THE PUBLIC HEARING FOR COMMENT ON THE MILLAGE RATE ON
JULY 12, 2016 AT 10:00 A.M. AT THE MANUEL J. MALOOF CENTER AUDITORIUM, 1300 COMMERCE DRIVE, DECATUR, GEORGIA 30030,
AND PURSUANT TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF O.C.G.A. 48-5-32 DOES HEREBY PUBLISH THE FOLLOWING PRESENTATION OF THE
CURRENT YEAR'S TAX DIGEST AND PROPOSED MILLAGE RATES ALONG WITH THE HISTORY OF THE TAX DIGEST AND LEVY OF THE
PAST FIVE YEARS. IF THE BOARD DEFERS ACTION ON A RATE ON JULY 12, THEN THE RATE WILL BE SET ON JULY 19, 2016 AT
10 A.M. AT THE SAME LOCATION.
CURRENT 2016 TAX DIGEST AND FIVE YEAR HISTORY OF LEVY
2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

21,399,133,588

19,286,135,214

19,237,343,834

20,940,598,158

21,627,393,285

23,575,054,966

Motor Vehicle

1,317,170,660

1,362,176,640

1,468,928,740

1,231,387,800

851,329,130

621,157,010

Mobile Homes

510,171

440,056

396,572

355,333

358,733

769,100

Real & Personal

Timber - 100%
Heavy Duty Equipment
Gross Digest
Less M&O Exemptions
Net M&O Digest
Gross M&O Millage (1)
Net Tax Levy (2)
Net Tax Increase ($)
Net Tax Increase (%)

0

0

0

0

0

0

82,712

77,829

34,308

57,864

2,208

76,000

22,716,897,131

21,017,441,547

21,086,933,073

22,545,529,410

22,479,083,356

24,197,057,076

1,919,082,084

2,090,546,483

2,061,365,888

2,345,016,850

2,883,683,825

3,246,932,064

20,797,815,047

18,926,895,064

19,025,567,185

20,200,512,560

19,595,399,531

20,950,125,012

10.31

11.37

11.51

9.02

11.28

10.50

214,425,473

215,198,797

218,984,278

182,208,623

221,036,107

219,976,313

1,828,362

773,324

3,785,481

(36,775,655)

38,827,483

0.86%

0.36%

1.76%

-16.79%

21.31%

(1) Countywide taxes only; no Special Services, Fire and Police Services or bonds in accordance with OCGA 48-5-32/32.1.

(1,059,794)
-0.48%

educaTion

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016 • Page 15A

$2.8 million in E-SPLOST spent on custodial equipment
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com

M

ore than $3
million in tax
revenue remains
in question a
year after a major custodial
equipment purchase in
DeKalb County.
In April 2015, the
DeKalb County board of
education approved a
$2.8 million purchase for
custodial equipment, parts
and training from Southeast
LINK, a janitorial supplier
and training company
based in Atlanta.
Where that $2.8 million
came from, what it was
intended for, and how it was
approved has community
stakeholders questioning
the decision.
According to DCSD
documents, the funding
for the purchase came
from the Local School
Priority Request (LSPR),
a 2013 program in which
schools were able to
request specific capital
improvements from the
district’s special local option
sales tax (E-SPLOST).
The total amount set
aside for the LSPR was
$3.2 million, with $50,000
going to at least 60 schools.
Funds were to be balanced
across the region and could
not include non-capital
improvements such as
painting.
Similar restrictions
exist for E-SPLOST which,
according to the Georgia
Constitution, can only be
used for “capital outlay
projects for educational
purposes” and “the
retirement of previously
incurred general obligation
debt with respect only to
capital outlay projects of the
school system.”
Teachers, staff and
principals were able to
directly contact the district
with improvement requests
on the DCSD website.
Improvements included
repavement, more parking,
walkie-talkies, carpeting,
flooring, cafeteria tables,
updated bathroom doors,
larger conference rooms
and ceiling repairs.
The district received
324 requests from 70
different schools.
E-SPLOST III’s
LSPR, lasting from 2007
to 2012 with a budget of
approximately $8.6 million,

File photo/Travis Hudgons

was made up of similar
requests. Lockers, paving,
kitchen equipment, dry
erase boards, carpeting and
restroom upgrades were
delivered to schools across
the district.
Project budgets ranged
from $365,425 (Nancy
Creek Elementary’s
bus loop and parking
lot) to $1,325 (Idlewood
Elementary’s carpet
replacement).
E-SPLOST IV’s LSPR
had a different complexion.
Board approval of
the 2012-2017 LSPR list
from E-SPLOST IV was
scheduled for August 2015.
Approval does not show
up on any archived DCSD
meeting agendas, nor has
a formal list ever been
published.
According to Quinn
Hudson, director of
communications for DCSD,
this is not out of the
ordinary.
“The list of solicited
requests was not formally
presented to the board,”
Hudson said. “The board
trusts the district to manage
decisions of this nature.”
According to the 20152016 DCSD vendor spend
report, schools instead
received $2.8 million in

custodial services. The
budget lists 109 items
under LSPR funding, with
some as high as $49,011.
Other payments were also
made to Southeast LINK
with DCSD’s general fund.
“The unequal number
of requests from the five
geographic regions and
specifically a small number
of requests from Region
5 schools prompted thenSuperintendent Michael
thurmond in April 2015 to
recommend to the DeKalb
County School Board
that all schools receive
badly needed custodial
(janitorial/cleaning)
equipment,” Hudson said.
“This recommendation
allowed the district to meet
a primary objective for the
LSPR Program–balanced
funding to all regions in the
district.”
Invoices show these
purchases accounted for
four types of custodial
equipment for every
school as well as training
for custodians. Only the
district’s four stadiums and
its administrative offices
remain lacking, according
to its custodial equipment
roll-out schedule.
Approval for LSPR’s
spending came in April

2015 through a Facilities
Management request
made by Joshua Williams,
chief of DCSD’s Division
of Operations, and Debra
Henson, former executive
director of DCSD’s Facilities
Management Department.
“The Facilities
Management Department
oversees Facilities
Maintenance (Custodial
Equipment Parts) and
E-SPLOST Programming
(Custodial Equipment and
Training),” Hudson said “It’s
exactly how a request for
custodial equipment and a
parts contract agreement
should be made.”
Hudson said board of
education chairman Melvin
Johnson, and vice chair
James L. ‘Jim’ McMahan
acknowledged the request
in a “formal agenda-setting
meeting.”
“Superintendent
Thurmond made a formal
recommendation for
funding through [Williams]
to the board of education,”
Hudson said. “The board
gave final approval.”
The agenda item lists
three companies through
which DCSD would be
“piggybacked” on deals
for custodial equipment
through Cobb County

School District, Southeast
LINK included. According
to the 2015-2016 vendor
spend report, of the three
companies, Southeast LINK
received the most money
while Ferguson Enterprises
received $5,904 from a
separate funding source.
The most recent inquiry
about the matter came from
board member Stan Jester
on June 6, more than a
year after the purchase was
approved by him and fellow
board members.
“Half of the schools that
participated and submitted
a lot of the local school
request items for facilities,
several of them were
actually part of existing
projects we had allocated
under some other projects,”
Williams said. “We came
back to the board per the
direction of [Superintendent
Michael Thurmond] and
we deployed custodial
equipment to all schools
… We will probably have
some dollars that are still
remaining that will go back
and provide another round
of LSPR. We’re working
through that process now
to scrub all those budgets
to provide that support if
necessary.”

business

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016 • Page 16A

Moving on up with Two Men and A Truck
by Kathy Mitchell

The name can be
misleading. Two Men and
A Truck is now actually
thousands of men and
thousands of trucks at 330
locations worldwide. Also,
the business was founded
not by two men but by a
woman.
Approximately 30 years
ago teenage brothers Brig
and Jon Sorber started
offering their services
as movers to make a
little pocket cash. It was
their mom, Mary Ellen
Sheets, a data processor
for the state of Michigan,
who turned the informal
enterprise into a business,
now franchised in 39 states
as well as Canada, Ireland
and the United Kingdom.
Jerome Jones, a
co-franchise owner in
Tucker and Decatur, said
relationships are why he
loves Two Men and A
Truck. “I came to work here
as a mover because I just
needed a job. They saw
potential in me and helped
me develop my potential,”
Jones recalled.
“Within weeks I was
moved up to driver and
within two years I was an
assistant manager. Then I
became general manager.
It’s a good company to
work for. They have been
loyal to me and supportive
of me,” said Jones, who
grew up in Decatur where
he still lives.
“He’s a role model
for our entire system,”
commented Randy
Shacka, president of
Two Men and A Truck.
“He is exactly the type of
person we look for in our
organization. He believes in
our values. He works hard
and he genuinely cares
about people. Three out of
four of our management
staff have come from
within. I started with the
company as an intern.”
Estimating that
approximately 1,000
moving companies serve
the Atlanta area, Jones
said relationships inside
the company and with
customers make Two Men
and A Truck stand out.
“Moving is stressful under
the best circumstances,” he

said. “And sometimes it’s
not the best circumstances.
Sometimes people move
because they have to—not
because they want to. We
make every effort to be
patient and considerate.”
Jones said that along
with training movers to
handle furniture without
hurting themselves or
damaging the furniture, the
company trains movers
in personal relations. “We
want customers to have as
little stress as possible. We
want them to feel there’s
nothing we won’t do to
make this easier for them.
Every move is different
and we try to be flexible.
We really want to satisfy
everybody,” he said.
Most of the time it
works, Jones added.
He said the company
consistently receives high
customer approval ratings
and approximately 97
percent of its new business
comes from referrals from
satisfied customers. “We
do on average 250 to
300 moves a month out
of the Tucker office and
maybe 300 a month out of
the Decatur office during
our busy season. It’s a
challenge to make that
many customers happy—
but we sure try. We want
to take their worst day and
turn it into their best day.”

Jones said the
company’s growth in the
Atlanta area has been
amazing. “The Tucker
office started off small in
2001. There was an office
staff or four or five and a
few movers. Now we keep
between 20 and 60 movers
and 19 trucks busy.”
Jones’ business is
among three nationwide
chosen for a pilot program

testing a new Two Men
and A Truck service that
uses a customized moving
container that can be
disconnected from the truck
and shipped across the
country using a partnering
carrier.
Two Men and A Truck
was named to Ideal Living
Magazine’s 2016 Best of
the Best list.
Shacka said the moving

industry as a whole “does
have a great reputation.
We’re trying to turn that
around one move at a time.
We know that people care
about who comes into their
home and who’s handling
their possessions. Our
motto is ‘Movers Who Care,’
and that’s more than a
motto to us—it’s how we do
business.”

NOTICE OF PROPERTY TAX INCREASE
The City of Chamblee has tentatively adopted a new millage rate
of 6.40 mills for the General Fund which will require an increase in
property taxes by 10.25% over the rollback millage rate.
All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearings on this
tax increase to be held at the Chamblee Civic Center located
at 3540 Broad St, Chamblee Georgia on June 30, 2016 at 6:00
PM.
Two additional public hearings on this tax increase will be held at
the Chamblee Civic Center on July 7, 2016. There will be one
hearing at 11:30 AM and a final hearing at 6:00 PM. After the final
public hearing, the millage rate will be formally adopted.
This tentative new millage rate of 6.40 mills will result in an
increase of .595 mills. Without this tentative tax increase, the
millage rate will be 5.805 mills. The proposed tax increase for a
home with a fair market value of $225,000 is approximately $35.70
and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a
fair market value of $650,000 is approximately $154.70.

Correction: In the June 16 issue of The Champion on page 17A, the general manager of Dunwoody Hampton Inn was incorrectly
identified in the photograph. He is Jason Caughron.

Classified

The

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016 • Page 17A

Champion

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spoRTs

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016 • Page 18A

Three Oglethorpe golfers named Ping All-Americans
The Oglethorpe men’s golf
team has three players named to
the Division III Ping All-America
teams June 21 by the Golf Coaches
Association of America (GCAA).
Senior David Kleckner and
freshman Kyle Shealy, who also
won the Phil Mickelson Outstanding
Freshman Award, garnered second
team All-America status while
freshman Patrick Mills received
honors as a third team All-America
performer.
This marks the 27th time an
Oglethorpe men’s golfer has been
named to a GCAA All-America team
and the fourth time that Oglethorpe
has put three men on All-America
three oglethorpe golfers were named to the Division iii Ping All-America teams.
teams in a given season. In
addition, it marks the second time
that the Petrel men’s golf team has
finishes on his resume this year and nation’s best Division III freshman
put two freshmen on All-America
only two finishes outside the top 10, golfer and taking Ping All-Southeast
teams.
sporting a 71.82 stroke average.
Region honors from the GCAA. He
A finalist for the Jack Nicklaus
Kleckner finished the season
won the individual medal at the SAA
National Player of the Year Award
ranked ninth in the nation in
Men’s Golf Championship in late
and an All-SAA first team selection
Golfstat’s individual rankings.
April and led his team to its second
as well as a Ping All-Southeast
This serves as his second career
SAA championship and 12th
Region selection, Kleckner posted
Ping All-America selection after
overall conference title at the event,
a victory in September at the SAA
he earned All-America honorable
earning SAA Co-Newcomer of the
Preview and tied for first in a dual
mention in 2014.
Year honors and a spot on the Allmatch against Emory in February.
Shealy is fresh off winning
SAA First Team in the process.
He has three additional top 10
the Phil Mickelson Award as the
He finished sixth in the country in

the Golfstat individual rankings,
and tied for the lowest Division III
round by an individual this season
after posting a 64 at the Golfweek
Division III Fall Invitational.
Mills also earned Ping AllSoutheast Region honors from the
GCAA. He finished second at the
SAA Championship and shared
SAA Newcomer of the Year honors
with Shealy. He also took All-SAA
first team accolades for his efforts.
His seven eagles on the season
placed him first in the nation in that
category and he finished 13th in the
Golfstat individual rankings.
“I am very proud and excited
that we got three players on the
All-America teams this year,” said
Oglethorpe director of golf Jim
owen. “All three finished in the
top 15 of the Golfstat rankings,
so all were richly deserving. All
had spectacular seasons for us,
leading us to our 16th straight
NCAA appearance and our 12th
conference title. I’m happy to see
David finish out his Oglethorpe
career with an All-America selection
and I’m excited to see what our
freshmen can do going forward,
along with the rest of this team.”

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016 • Page 19A

Photo by Horace Holloman

Brookhaven fire station
off SPLOST list
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
The city of Brookhaven will be without
a fire station as DeKalb County officials
confirmed a second potential fire station
was taken off the final special purpose
local option sales tax (SPLOST) list.
On June 21, the DeKalb County
governing authority hosted a meeting to
discuss implementation of the (SPLOST)
and Equalized Homestead Option Sales
Tax (HOST) with governing authorities of
Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee,
Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody,
Lithonia, Pine Lake, Stone Mountain and
Tucker.
During the meeting, Brookhaven’s
new City Manager Christian Sigman said
he was curious why a proposed second
fire station in Brookhaven was left off the
SPLOST funding list.
“Presumably the fire station was based
on some recommendation from the Chief
as a response to cutting down response
time,” Sigman said. “That second fire
department is now off (the SPLOST list).
Is that not an operational need anymore?
What was the reasoning for taking that off
the original list?”
A nine-person SPLOST citizen advisory
committee helped create the final SPLOST
project list. David Sjoquist, interim CEO
of the citizen advisory committee, said “If
the facility was located near a municipality,
we took it off the list. We weren’t interested
or willing to spend unincorporated area
money, which is what the SPLOST is, on
services in municipalities,” Sjoquist said.
The proposed Brookhaven fire station,
listed as fire station 34 in the original

SPLOST list, would have been located
at the intersection of Ashford-Dunwoody
Road and Johnson Ferry Road.
Currently, the SPLOST list will fund the
reconstruction of four existing fire stations
and the construction of seven additional
fire stations.
The department of fire services
accounts for 12 percent of the SPLOST
funding. Brookhaven’s fire station was
projected to cost around $4 million.
City of Brookhaven Communications
Manager Ann Quill said Brookhaven
is not interested in creating its own fire
department.
“While the county does have a fire
station on Dresdon Drive in Brookhaven,
there is a known need for a fire station
on the northern part of our city, or in
that area, but the funding in SPLOST
is for unincorporated areas,” Quill said.
“However, that is in the county’s hands, not
ours. There’s really not much we can do
about it.”
DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee
May said the SPLOST funding creates a
dilemma for the county and surrounding
municipalities.
“We would have to look at the fire
fund. That is a property tax fund. As far as
these (SPLOST) funds are concerned, we
can only deal with unincorporated focus
dollars,” May said. “That’s our dilemma.
It’s a weakness in the law itself because
it doesn’t force us to sit down at the table
and come up with those tier one projects.
We have long said if a city definitely wants
to see that project accomplished in their
district, we would gladly put up funding to
help accomplish that, but the cities have to
come up with the funding itself.”

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local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016 • Page 20A

Brookhaven approves amendments to 2034 comprehensive plan
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
The Brookhaven City Council unanimously approved changes to its 2034
comprehensive plan to align with the city’s
zoning map.
The city’s comprehensive plan was adopted in December 2014 and was amended in May 2015. The plan is a long-term
vision for the city.
The amendments approved by the
council at its June 21 regular meeting will
align “character areas” in the comprehensive plan with the city’s zoning map, according to Amanda Hatton, project manager of the comprehensive plan.
“The Peachtree Corridor Overlay District is one of the character areas and that
was aligned directly with your overlay district,” Hatton said. “Since we were working
on the plan, that overlay district has been
updated as a part of your official zoning
map in January of this year. These edits
make sure that your comprehensive plan
aligns with those changes.”
On the northern end of the Peachtree
Corridor Overlay District, residential properties that fell near the Ashford Park/Drew
Valley character area will be put in that
character area. Councilman John Park
said some residents in that area have demanded to be taken out of the Peachtree
Corridor Overlay District and moved into

the Ashford Park/Drew Valley character
area.
“They consider themselves a part of the
Ashford Park neighborhood and not in the
overlay,” Park said. “[These changes are]
just correcting an error in my opinion.”
In the southern portion, some parcels
that are commercial properties were moved
out of the Osborne character area and
placed in the Peachtree Corridor Overlay
District character area, according to Hatton.
“Properties along Caldwell Road will be
taken out of the Peachtree Corridor Overlay
District and will be placed in Ashford Park/
Drew Valley, and that’s consistent with the
zoning map amendments that were approved,” Hatton said.
According to the city, the comprehensive plan “is built from the ground-up, with
the community’s desires and goals for the
city’s future as the basis for the implementation program that follows.”
“The long-term vision for Brookhaven
is to be a model community that preserves
what makes it great—including its people,
neighborhoods, parks, tree canopy, and
accessibility—while acknowledging its role
as a premier community within the Atlanta
region,” the city stated. “Brookhaven is strategically positioned for redevelopment and
additional investment to build upon walkability, transit use and community hubs that The Brookhaven city council adopted amendments that would align
foster a vibrant economy and high-quality
the city’s 2034 comprehensive plan with its zoning map.
of life.”

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