Jim Eyre, the first ever elected councilman for Brookhaven who later resigned and stepped down from his seat on the council, warns DeKalb County residents about what could lay ahead for them if they approve new cities.You can watch and listen to his speech, already cued up for you, here.
|Jim Eyre warns Tucker and Lavista Hills area residents |
about the short-shortsightedness of new cities.
1. Yes, it is a new layer of bureaucracy stacked on top of the one we already have.
2. There is no independent ethics board. It is all handled through the city's attorney and the city council itself. The potential offenders are the same ones overseeing the ethics.
3. Confusing - who to call for various services. It is another layer for everyone to hassle with. It is intertwined with the county services and providers. Are the services being provided in such a manner that adding this new layer is worth it? In most cases, the cities are having to turn to DeKalb to provide the services anyway.
4. Fast moving city council is pushing things so fast that people don't know what is going on. The people are now paying for things they never wanted in the first place. The projects are decided by the council members, not based on what the people want.
5. Public / Private business model. Very expensive. They are paying 200 - 250 percent MORE for services than they would have paid if they kept it in house.
6. Vendors - luck of the draw. Some are good; some not. Planning and Zoning is most poorly staffed and has cost the city a lot due to improper zoning and lawsuits.
7. There is no vision for the city. Mayor telling staff just approve whatever you can and that's how things are getting done.
8. You need to read your city charter. Most of the cities were set up as Weak Form Mayor. Mayor proposes; council approves. But what we have learned is that the Mayor gets to populate all the positions and the council is expected to just approve like a rubber stamp. So, the mayor has a lot of power. Do you know who your Mayor will be? If not, how will you control that power?
9. HOST Credit lowers your taxes by as much as 50%. That all goes away. If you look how the cities will tax you, I think you are looking at higher taxes. But, the more cities that are formed, the smaller everyone's cut will be from this "HOST" sales tax dollars. But, even if you get a decent amount, HOST may go away in a few years.
10. You will be paying additional franchise fees. You will be paying about $70 more PER PERSON in your home just for the access to the same utilities you have in your home right now already.
11. Look closely at your districts. How are they established. By law, they must be based on population but they don't have to look at concentration of voters. If your districts are drawn in a way that gives most of the voters to a single district (like we have in District 1 for Brookhaven) then you have an unbalanced power structure.
12. You want to get away from the North /South divide in DeKalb County, but we have the exact same thing in Brookhaven. There are dividing lines in the community and that's how the money will be spent. You will be on one side or the other of the lines, but it will make things difficult.
13. Look at all the people who are supporting the city efforts right now on the pro-city team because those are the people who will most likely be running your city, sitting on your boards. If you don't like what you see, maybe it isn't the right time for your city.
Full meeting recorded below. It was held by DeKalb Strong on May 14, 2015.