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Republicans Now Want Cities That Won't Harm Counties

According to an article in the Brookhaven Post, Republicans who participated in the city fiasco taking place in DeKalb County have decided that their work here is done and they can now start the process of forming cities in their own, Republican-controlled counties.  And, guess what?  They are now saying the process is flawed.  And they are going to fix it... for themselves, not for us.   

New cities will focus more on the benefit they can bring to the residents and, get this ... they will be formed WITHOUT property taxes at all.  Franchise fees and fines alone will be enough to provide border protection in a low profile township or "city lite" type of municipality that can ease residents into city living over time, if that's what they want.  

It will protect the community from over building or the expansion of nearby areas by annexation.  If you were already upset that Lakeside City abused the process by submitting multiple bills and claiming what was never their's to begin with, then you won't be any happier to learn that they had their own city pass with a far greater commercial value, leaving Tucker with a map that doesn't resemble our own current community and takes on an extreme amount of high density residential that could end up bankrupting Tucker before it ever gets off the ground!  

And, now, as if things were not confusing enough, the strongest advocates telling you they want "local control" in Tucker are now taking steps to remove themselves from the limelight, actually claiming that the Tucker 2015 group is without leadership at all.  

So, before you decide to vote yes, ask yourself... who will be representing you if the city is formed?  What do they want to do to our community?  Do they share our vision for Tucker, or are these the same people who were fine with handing over Northlake, handing over Livsey, keeping quiet about other plans they had first hand knowledge about?  

Tucker may deserve to become a city, but under our own timetable and with the right type of government set up to support us... just like some Republicans are getting for themselves in their communities.  We want a way to protect our borders, not ruin our police department and turn long time county workers against us.  

We asked and we were ignored.  This was Elaine Boyer's plan, not Tucker's.  Our legislators need to put a halt before these new cities go any further.  The FBI investigations of our county need to continue before we elect anyone else to office or hand over any more of our tax dollars.  

If you have information about corruption in our county, you are encouraged to contact the FBI Atlanta Field Office or submit an online tip here.

HOW DID THIS (the map everyone knows
as the size and shape of Tucker) ....
BECOME THIS???   (the map that a lot
of people planning to vote for a city of Tucker
have NO IDEA they will be approving, with the
largest section of the city council districts (per
the above) going to Smoke Rise, a Stone Mountain
community that has taken over the city effort and
could even potentially bankrupt the city of Tucker
in order to gain their own city of Smoke Rise.

From the Brookhaven Post:

DeKalb County, GA, May 18, 2015 – by Tom Doolittle – By next March, Forsyth County state representative Mike Dudgeon (R—Johns Creek) hopes the Sharon Springs cityhood legislation from Forsyth County will be approved for a referendum—but only if the effort has been prosecuted as “merit based”.

That approach may not be very familiar to DeKalb County residents. It reflects a much different political environment. Forsyth, like most Georgia counties is run by and represented at state level by Republicans. Dudgeon wouldn’t say anything in a phone call about the way DeKalb Republicans’ approach, except that he is aware of “problems”.

Dudgeon sees his role for Sharon Springs as less “leading” the electorate than clarifying the issues, even while assuming things are clarified enough to put a cityhood “placeholder” bill into motion this year. The meetings he has sponsored only included Sharon Springs among three types of governance changes, including adding members to the county commission. County commissioners have thus been brought into the process. Dudgeon has also tested the waters formally, commissioning a poll from a nationally recognized firm. He says he will do another poll in the fall, before the House Government Affairs committee contemplates arranging a General Assembly vote next year.

“Merit based” cityhood—a regulatory, not political process: 
(1) more input from the county govt; 
(2) smaller service footprint; 
(3) unambiguous public opinion.

Does Dudgeon’s process look familiar? Not likely, given all of Georgia’s cityhood efforts in the post-2005 “general legislation era” have been in Fulton and DeKalb Counties, except for Peachtree Corners, the first and only time a community formed a city in a Republican county. Peachtree Corners was a breeze in comparison to what cityhood has become. Gwinnett County government approached the effort cooperatively, particularly since no property taxes would change hands. Peachtree Corners now operates purely on fees and is considered a “city lite”—and so will Sharon Springs. Is that just a coincidence?

DeKalb’s Democrat senator Elena Parent (District 42) believes Sharon Springs and any other new city in a Republican county would be formed in a similar environment as Peachtree Corners. She also believes that Republican lawmakers are motivated to expand and formalize rules to make sure that happens. In the absence of those changes, the current trajectory of city formations would portend further complications or at least present a difficulty in avoiding them.

Since 2011 and Brookhaven’s referendum campaign, cityhood proponents have existed under a nonexistent, some characterize as anarchic regulatory regime. That may be about to change.

As legislation passed to hold the LaVista Hills and Tucker referendums last month, key Republican legislators admitted the cityhood process is flawed. They mentioned mapping conflicts, such as those between the two proposed cities and also where cityhood maps might conflict with the rights of existing cities’ annexation plans. Each of these situations emerged as the proposed LaVista Hills map faced being eroded on “two flanks”—mostly by Tucker and Atlanta, but also by further incursion by Brookhaven which had already annexed land within LaVista Hills’ proposed boundaries.

As always, Republicans barely “settled” the Middle DeKalb cityhood/annexation complications temporarily. Their comments to date have fallen short of admitting constitutional flaws in cityhood law or a lack of legitimate regulatory review standards—things that are needed for the long term. Democrats on the other hand have been consistent on those points, complaining that there is currently no code stipulating: (1) a role for county government; (2) a proponent groups “standards for standing” (representation) with legislators; and (3) proof of an established community of interest—all of which would de-facto solve what Republicans simplistically view as a “mapping” problem.

Republicans are apparently now willing to sit in committee with Democrats to discuss the rules—or more appropriately, the lack thereof. House and Senate resolutions (HR 743 and SR 507) authorize review committees that will likely get underway in the summer.

SR 507 emphasizes that current laws create conflicts between annexation and new city formation. The House complement mentions concerns about transparency and confusion. Elena Parent (Senate District 42), among three DeKalb Senators sponsoring SR 507, says annexation and cityhood are inherent conflicts given one is local and the other general legislation.

What might be underappreciated by all but the most ardent followers of the past ten years of municipal incorporations in Georgia is that there isn’t a lot of evidence that the intensity of the movement will continue. Cityhood now has to progress from a politically-based issue to one that is more merit based—“regulatory” in a word.

As explained here, new cities will be more “township” than city (referred to as “city-lite”), requiring no property taxes, only service and franchise fees and will include productive conversations with county leaders. Also, the rationale for city boundaries will be more obvious eliminating nearly all of the reasons that DeKalb cities became contentious.

*  NOTE:  This is EXACTLY what we at Save Tucker! have advocated for since our initial involvement in this takeover of Tucker.  The question about  becoming city lite was asked many, many times and we were never answered.   Why were we denied our requests for the consideration of City Lite or Townships while others were allowed to move ahead with their plans for full incorporation of our own community without including the majority of the residents in their planning groups or decisions?

The above map was drawn by Save Tucker! and not official map makers.  We took existing maps available online
and placed them on top of each other in an attempt to understand what exactly the lawmakers have done to our community.  Our efforts are solely to help the residents as well as ourselves with figuring out what exactly we are going to be expected to vote on in a November 3 election.  

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