The Governor’s Commission on Brookhaven is beginning to formulate a plan for the new city. It used its second meeting, held Sept. 20, to appoint committees, accept donated office space and agree on a timeline to complete its work.
The five-member board was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to serve as an interim government that will help get the new city of Brookhaven started until a mayor and city council are elected. The city is scheduled to officially begin operations Dec. 17.
Bill Riley, the commission’s pro bono attorney, presented the commission with a timeline that he said would allow vendors the maximum time to create and submit quality bids for city services.
Like other recently created cities, Brookhaven will likely rely heavily on private-sector partners, who will participate in a competitive bid process to become the providers of city services like public works and parks and recreation.
Riley, who has worked with the six other newly created cities starting with Sandy Springs in 2005, recommended that requests for proposals be sent out by Oct. 12, so that vendors have until Nov. 20 to turn in their bids. Riley said the commission should review the bids and make their recommendations to City Council by Dec. 1.
“The longer vendors have to put a bid together, the sharper it’s going to be,” Riley said. “We want to maximize the time they have to put together what they want to do.”
Commission Chairman Ben Vinson announced which members of the commission would chair 10 committees created to research different municipal functions.
There are five committees that Vinson called “core function committees,” which are the things the commission is required to do according to the act creating the city. Those committees will do things such as search for key city staff, locate city office space and work with DeKalb County on the transition from county to city services.
Vinson also appointed leaders for what he called the “working committees,” which will research city services like finance, police and public works. These committees will have a citizen co-chair as well as an expert in that field.
Vinson said the committees will begin meeting next week, but chose to wait until the commission’s next meeting to name the Brookhaven residents who will be serving on those committees.
Riley recommended that commission members take advantage of the work done by the volunteer task forces that were organized by Brookhaven Yes, a group that campaigned to create the city. He said they already have knowledge and data specific to the area.
“The compressed time period begs that we use information gathered by citizen committees that have been meeting for months,” Riley said.
As it transitions toward self-sufficiency, Brookhaven may look to neighboring cities to provide municipal services in addition to DeKalb County, which serves the area now.
“I understand (the commission) wants to look at every opportunity to make sure they give the best bundle of services to mayor and council they possibly can,” Riley said.
He said it’s likely nearby cities would be interested in helping Brookhaven get started.
“Johns Creek really took Peachtree Corners as their sister city,” Riley said. “I have found every city that has been started is happy and proud with what they’ve done and they want to share that with their neighbors.”