New city financial benefits seem questionable

To the editor:

I have been to a number of meetings about the proposed new city, both local and at the Legislature. There has been a lot of discussion on both sides of this issue, but what seems very clear is that the proposed city of Brookhaven has been developed without sufficient input from many of those who will be directly affected and many others who will be indirectly affected by the proposed municipality.

Even viewed from the point of view of advocates for this bill, the net result seems to be a somewhat questionable financial benefit to a limited number of citizens. The advocates have several times manipulated proposed boundaries, and revised the financial parameters in an apparent effort to quash the voices of those opposed to this cityhood effort.

This is not the kind of policy making that promotes any sense of real cooperation.

The cityhood idea has risen based only on a very few voices among the tens of thousands who would be affected.

Al Weidenmuller

Brookhaven community not ready to become a city

To the editor:

Brookhaven is a great community to live in but it is not a city.

The very idea of cityhood is a bad idea and what’s worse is the urgency to get it on the ballot.

No small sampling of residents or feasibility study creates or constitutes a mandate. It almost seems like a knee-jerk reaction of a few, certainly not the majority, who probably spent more time on pushing this city proposal than they ever did participating in the current system they so oppose.

It reminds me of people who call for seceding from the union without regard for the consequences they expose us all to and when things go wrong because of insufficient due diligence, it’s too late. Such irresponsible behavior should be a criminal offense.

Brookhaven’s collective IQ should be higher than to rush such a significant decision. It’s my guess that the long time residents who made Brookhaven the great community it is aren’t the ones pushing for this new city and there are still too many unanswered questions to vote yes.

You don’t do major surgery without getting a second opinion and gathering as much information as possible… because once it’s done, it’s too late to go back! This is the scenario that is all too likely, if we vote yes to this rushed process.

Obviously, I don’t like it, and honestly, neither should you.

This isn’t smaller, more efficient government or better services or even a significant tax savings for our residents. It isn’t an issue that the majority of us have rallied around, either. It’s divisive, it’s partisan and it’s elitist to think a Brookhaven city, especially during these unstable times, could yield anything but more gridlock and a drop in quality of life for our cherished community.

Yes, Brookhaven is a community…but it’s not yet ready to be a city.

Dimitrius Owens

New city = losing HOST credit

To the editor:

The tax reduction being touted by the BrookhavenYes campaign is simply not there.

If the Brookhaven area becomes a city, the citizens in our area will lose the HOST credit. The current millage rate in unincorporated Dekalb County is 6.39 mills but it is reduced by the HOST credit of 46 percent (sometimes more) to 3.49 mils.

The millage rate in the proposed city will be 3.35 mills. This is only a 0.14 difference and only a negligible savings. Meanwhile our franchise fees will go up and more than offset any tax savings.

There isn’t any tax savings with a new city but the more important message here is, why is BrookhavenYes telling us that there is and why aren’t they telling us that we are losing the HOST credit? I had to go to nocitybrookhaven.com to get this information. It greatly concerns me that BrookhavenYes isn’t providing all of the information.

Chuck Konas

Brookhaven services extend to police, fire, parks, schools

To the editor:

The May 5-17 edition of the Brookhaven Reporter contained a letter from a gentleman who, with his wife, has lived in DeKalb since 1980. He currently opposes incorporating Brookhaven. The main argument he presented is that his family is pleased with the services they receive from DeKalb. He mentioned two departments specifically: garbage collection and sewer service.

There is good news! Those two services will continue to be provided by DeKalb, along with firefighting, water supply, libraries and schools. The city of Brookhaven will provide police, parks, roads, zoning and code enforcement.

Only 20 percent of the tax he now pays to DeKalb will shift to Brookhaven to pay for those five services. Brookhaven will also provide every resident a city councilperson who lives within (or very close to) their neighborhood.

Brookhaven will be closer to home and much more efficient and responsive for city services than DeKalb. The remaining 80 percent of his taxes will continue to support services from DeKalb, including garbage and sewage.

Brookhaven will provide better and closer representation, improved police visibility, better parks, and better road maintenance, zoning and code enforcement. DeKalb is a thirsty tax guzzler but Brookhaven will use its 20 percent portion of your taxes much more efficiently.

YES, it is time for Brookhaven. BrookhavenYES.org lists the many benefits of Brookhaven within DeKalb in more detail.

Clayton Conarro

Excited to vote for city

To the editor:

I’m thrilled we have finally achieved the opportunity to vote for Brookhaven cityhood. While I am sure there will be challenges in setting up a new government, I look forward to the day when we will be represented by individuals who live around the corner or the next block over, and when our tax dollars will be spent closer to home.

I grew up in DeKalb County and received a great education from Medlock Elementary and Druid Hills High School. I was actually excited to be able to return to DeKalb several years ago and specifically looked for property in unincorporated DeKalb.

Since my return, I have become more and more disappointed in the lack of services we are receiving in the Brookhaven area. Having been exposed to how great DeKalb used to be, the current environment is quite disturbing. Given the large amount of money I am spending in taxes every year and the limited services we receive, the idea of local representation is very appealing.

When the city of Brookhaven becomes a reality, I look forward to saying good-bye to the huge metal plate that has resided in the middle of our street for over a year, and not paying off-duty police officers to patrol our neighborhood to prevent the criminal activity that has been commonplace the past few years.

I anticipate better code enforcement so the house next to ours won’t continue to dump large volumes of water between our houses because their gutter has fallen off and was never replaced.

With the additional focus on parks and recreation, I’m sure our neighborhood pool will actually be open all summer and the children will be excited when they show up and actually find an unlocked gate during posted hours of operation.

This is an exciting time for the residents of the Brookhaven area and I encourage everyone to research cityhood details to fully appreciate the benefits it will bring us. I know I personally look forward to casting my vote in favor of cityhood on July 31.

L. Rosser

City opponents are anonymous

To the editor:

Why are all of the city of Brookhaven opposition websites anonymous? I just checked five sites and couldn’t find a single name to attribute to the sites or the blogs.

No board of directors listed; contributors are asked to send money to an anonymous P.O. Box, and articles are written without attribution.

Why the mystery? Why the shroud of secrecy?

It brings into question the credibility of those behind these groups.

Stan Segal

Any way you cut it, new city is a new layer of government

To the editor:

Rep. Mike Jacobs and the BrookhavenYes group say the proposed city of Brookhaven does not create a new layer of government.

What an absurd claim.

According to both the bill passed by the Georgia Legislature and the Carl Vinson Institute’s study, the proposed city of Brookhaven would have a mayor, four city councilpersons, a city manager and possibly four departments heads (police chief, director of parks and recreation, director of planning and code enforcement, and a director of roads and drainage).

Anyway you cut it, this is a new layer of government. We have to assume that most of the folks want to be paid to perform these duties. While this might be accomplished within the first year budget, as outlined in the study, it seems that they will want a raise somewhere along the way and if the millage is fixed (and one assumes that the YES folks will not vote for an increase for several years), the money to do this must come from someplace – perhaps other fees, and levies on services.

While these are not direct property taxes increases, they are a form of taxes which are not deductable on our federal or state returns for most of us.

John A. Higley

Will we have local control?

To the editor:

I keep hearing that with a new city we will have more local control, but I have to wonder if it will really come true.

I did some research on some of the newly formed cities to see how they are working. What I found wasn’t very comforting. Sandy Springs is threatening eminent domain to take over a 43-year-old family business and they’re being forced to reduce park money because of decreased tax revenues.

Dunwoody is adding storm water utility fees (read increased taxes) to repair their broken system and they are launching special investigations into leaks about closed door meetings.

Johns Creek is approving rezonings, even with a packed house of citizen opposition. In Milton there are ethics charges and infighting all around.

I guess governments will continue to act like governments no matter how big or small or where they are. I certainly don’t need any more of that. Go to nocitybrookhaven.com to learn more about the perils of cityhood.

Mary Ellen Imlay

Brookhaven already a brand

To the editor:

The letter to the editor from Mr. Christopher Binkert [in the May 4-17 edition of the Brookhaven Reporter] about the new proposed city of Brookhaven helping to build a brand for Brookhaven was almost amusing.

As a reminder to Rep. Mike Jacobs and his friends who seem to have stronger feelings about the name than the city itself, Brookhaven has existed for over 110 years and already is a powerful and well-known brand. You can ask 50,000 people in north Atlanta and they know exactly where Brookhaven is located.

It is not Murphey Candler or Buford Highway, nor should it be. Most people in Atlanta will never go to these two diverse areas to shop or eat– unless they like pink ponies.

Mr. Binkert also mentions housing values. Those in Murphey Candler might go up and those along Buford Highway will never go up and many more in the actual Brookhaven area will go down.

Speaking of numbers — without a Perimeter Center as a huge tax base, the tax projections in the [Carl Vinson Institute] study are very suspect. Does anyone think that the cost of fire protection from DeKalb will not increase? They have almost promised increases in service costs.

The existing Brookhaven brand will be diminished by a new city with no commonality from end to end. Coca-Cola would never walk down that type of road.

Peter Landt