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Tucker Civic Leaders Release Official Statements Against Incorporation. So, What Changed?

At the District 2 Candidate Forum, Tucker Civic posed a question to a candidate, Tom Gilbert, about his ability to serve as a city council person if he was originally opposed to the incorporation of Tucker as a city.  

We would like to remind our friends at Tucker Civic about something they may have forgotten ...  their only official statements about cityhood for Tucker have been ANTI-CITY. 

 Read on for a reminder ...


Beth White Ganga, vice president

 Reprint of statement first run in the online newspaper, The Tucker Patch.

Bruce Penn, president of the Tucker Civic Association, and Beth White Ganga, vice president, have released a statement about a proposal from the Lakeside City Alliance to create a city that includes western Tucker and the consequences it could have on the Tucker community:

Several years ago, the Tucker Civic Association initiated a community-based exploratory group to determine the feasibility of incorporating Tucker into a city.  This exploratory group included experts from Georgia Tech. The general findings of the study were that Tucker did not have a sufficient commercial tax base to make cityhood financially feasible without increasing the proposed city limits to include the Northlake area and parts of Brookhaven. The Tucker Community was not willing to "land grab" into other areas, choosing to respect other individual communities.

The issue of cityhood, whether for Lakeside or Tucker, is one of local control. Many believe that a city will bring greater local control to the community while others believe that a city will just add an additional layer of bureaucracy and added costs to the taxpayers with no more guarantee of efficiency or local control. As the old saying goes, you may be better off dealing with the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.

Without being incorporated as a city, Tucker has a tremendous amount of local control. Community members have formed groups and organizations to achieve community goals without the added layer of bureaucracy nor additional tax burdens. Main Street Tucker Alliance has worked to bring in over $2 million dollars of transportation and economic development grants with more on the way. Park Pride and the Friends of Tucker Parks have created an avenue to fund Tucker parks, greenspace, and community gardens outside of the resources of DeKalb County through various grant opportunities.

The TCA advises DeKalb County Planning and Zoning on all zoning and land use applications in the Tucker area. Main Street Tucker Alliance and the Tucker Civic Association advise DeKalb County on all new development in the Downtown Tucker Overlay District. The TCA, partnering with the Atlanta Regional Commission, has been awarded almost $25,000 in grants for improvements to transportation and community gardens with much more on the way. The Tucker Parent Council works with the local schools to create some of the best schools in Georgia.

These organizations share a good working relationship with each other and our county commissioner, Elaine Boyer, to achieve the goals of the Tucker Community.  Henderson Park has received several hundreds of thousands of dollars in upgrades and improvements, but is represented by the Lakeside proponents as being under-served.

These individuals and organizations work directly with the various departments of DeKalb County to achieve the goals of Tucker. There are no added layers of bureaucracy. There are no additional tax burdens to the taxpayers in Tucker. There are only community members active in achieving the goals of their community.

The current map of Lakeside includes all lands west of Chamblee-Tucker Road and north of Lawrenceville Highway. With this area encompassed by a new political system, Henderson Park would no longer be eligible for the programs, funding and leadership support provided through DeKalb County's partnership with Park Pride. Zoning and land use issues in this area would be in question. The ability for the residents in that part of Tucker to have local control for their neighborhoods would no longer exist, but rather, be in the hands of a city government with the largest representation being Oak Grove and Lakeside.

The Tucker Civic Association does not support or oppose the Lakeside and Oak Grove Communities seeking to form their own city. The issue to consider is whether 40% of Tucker should be included to form less than 10% of the city of Lakeside. Also at issue is whether it is good for the Tucker Community to lose its largest and most prominent park and its two most stellar schools. Additionally, the portion of Tucker outside the city limits risks losing its various funding sources and weakening our relationship with DeKalb County.
A Community Meeting will be held on March 25 at Tucker Middle School from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. It will be hosted by Elaine Boyer and address the issue of the City of Lakeside and its impact on all of Tucker and Smoke Rise, not just the portion in the proposed Lakeside city limits. Check the TCA website and Facebook page for more information on this and all future meetings on the City of Lakeside.

Individual members of the TCA will be informed by email about this meeting and all upcoming meetings. You may join the TCA by going to our website.

We invite everyone to attend the meetings, get better informed and become more involved.

Leslie Richardson, 
President, Tucker Civic Association

And, we received this reply to our request for city feasibility data from Tucker Civic in Feb. 2013:  

Thank you Cheryl, for reaching out to the Tucker Civic Association. Our answer to the question of incorporation is two-fold: one is on a practical level, and the other is more intangible. First, although we have a variety of thriving businesses in the area, we do not have the tax base to sustain incorporation. A city needs both the depth and breadth of solid and multiple commercial enterprises to warrant city-hood. 

We are, however, able to enjoy a good cost-of-living as well as traditional city services that are provided by Dekalb county. The second part of this answer is,as I said, intangible, dare I say emotional, in nature. Tucker is a community, not a city. One only needs to see how we rallied around Ace Hardware to see what we do for one of our own in a time of need. Tucker Civic Association has known this for a long time. 

Our new initiative, Tucker Lifelong Community, is a program we have developed with the help with grant money and dedicated professionals and volunteers. The TLC, as we affectionately call it, has developed a plan for the future of our community. 

Our focus areas are Living, Growing, Moving, and Aging. It includes everyone and excludes no one--Come on out tonight at 7:30 to our Kick Off Meeting at the Baptist Ministry center to find out how you can be a part of the future of Tucker! 

Thanks again,
Leslie Richardson, 
President, Tucker Civic Association

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