DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader, right, talks with Sandy Murray, left, and other members of the Brookhaven Community Connection.

A proposed new north DeKalb city needs to include enough area to create a tax base able to support government services for the new community – an action that could end up being unfair to other DeKalb residents, a county commissioner said.

“You can’t do a new incorporation without raising taxes substantially, unless you can grab some tax base,” DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader told members of the Brookhaven Community Connection on Aug. 9.

Rader said he believed that was the reason proponents of a new northern DeKalb County town had increased the size of the area to be studied for possible incorporation to include areas near I-85.

The group’s proposals, Rader said, combine areas of the county with little in common in order to include commercial property in the area being studied for a new town.

“I don’t see any other reason for it,” Rader said. “I don’t see how people in [the neighborhoods near] Murphey Candler [Park] can feel any affinity for [the office complex] Century City.”

But Rep. Mike Jacobs, who lives in the Murphey Candler area and introduced legislation allowing the creation of a new city of Brookhaven, said, “The potential inclusion of Century City makes a lot of sense. The reality is, the corporate headquarters of Brookhaven Bank is in Century City.”

More importantly, he said, adding the area would avoid problems over whether the new city or the county should police the area around the intersection of Clairmont Road and Buford Highway. Earlier boundaries, he said, drew the city line at that intersection, which meant that different agencies would police different sides of the road. “The question becomes that if there’s a major accident around that intersection,” he said, “who’s responsible for it?”

A nonprofit group called Citizens for North DeKalb is raising money to hire the Carl Vinson Institute at the University of Georgia to study the feasibility of creating a new city in the area between Chamblee, Dunwoody, Atlanta and I-85.

The president of the group has said that if the entire area incorporates, it would take in nearly 50,000 residents and create the most populous city in DeKalb County.

Jacobs and Rep. Tom Taylor of Dunwoody have proposed legislation that would allow residents of the study area to create a new city or to seek annexation into Dunwoody or Chamblee.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.