Friday, October 29, 2010

Chamblee annexation could create tri-cities area in DeKalb

The nicely written article below mentions better police and parks servicesin Chamblee with no City taxes for seniors, local control vs dealing with DeKalb County but it missed one huge factor... The City of Chamblee sucks up every leaf that you bring to the curb.  No bagging of leaves ever!  (I would vote for it.)

Chamblee annexation could create tri-cities area in DeKalb

By April Hunt for the AJC

7:13 p.m. Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chamblee could grow to the size of Decatur -- and DeKalb County could get its first tri-cities region -- under an annexation proposal on Tuesday's ballot.

Political observers expect the plan to expand Chamblee’s borders north to I-285 to pass easily.

It was spearheaded four years ago by residents in Huntley Hills, a subdivision half in Chamblee and half in unincorporated DeKalb. More than 80 percent of homeowners there and in the next subdivision north, Gainsborough East, supported the annexation in community surveys.

If those areas are added to the city, Chamblee, which has a population of about 12,500, will grow to between 17,000 and 19,000 residents. It also will touch Dunwoody and Doraville, creating the first municipal cluster in a county where only a quarter of the residents live in cities.

“If it passes, we’ll be ready, both for delivery to our citizens and to look at opportunities where we can work with the other cities,” Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson said.

Already, there are signs of a new cooperation. Chamblee leaders sit on a Doraville committee overseeing an eight-month study of the former GM plant site and its surrounding area. The committee is reviewing Chamblee’s bike and walking trails for possible connections when the former factory site is redeveloped.

Dunwoody, which recently rejected a proposal to begin using Chamblee’s 911 center, remains interested in joint projects.

Dunwoody’s current look at its recreation needs, for instance, could extend beyond its borders into what could become its neighboring city.

“As opportunities come up, we’ll certainly be chatting more,” said Dunwoody Mayor Ken Wright. “I think it will be a natural evolution that we will grow together.”

Dan Weber, the Dunwoody Republican who pushed for the annexation vote in the state Senate, made the same argument. He called the area the “tip of a peninsula” of unincorporated DeKalb wedged between the three cities, saying annexation just makes sense.

A similar argument for three neighborhoods to join Doraville failed last year, though. Residents in Cherokee Hills, Oakcliff Estates and Sequoyah Woods will be in the last sliver of unincorporated DeKalb in the area if the annexation goes through.

What sets the Chamblee annexation apart is the grass-roots push. Residents supporting the move cite the city’s police department and recreation department as two services they are willing to pay more to have.

Nick Guerrero, who lives in the unincorporated Huntley Hills area, has advocated for annexation for years because of both issues. Both of his children are active in youth leagues run by Chamblee's recreation department, and he volunteers as a T-ball coach.

But police protection is an even bigger issue for him and others, given that some residents in Huntley Hills already see Chamblee patrols and residents further north have been watching Dunwoody police roam the area for more than a year now.

High-profile crimes, such as the February shooting death of 11-year old Nicholas Sheffey as he slept in his bed in the unincorporated area, weaken both the community and property values, Guerrero said.

"Yes, my taxes may go up a few hundred a year, worst case scenario, but if my property value drops one percent, I'm losing thousands," said Guerrero, a real estate sales agent and appraiser. He said he thinks the annexation vote will pass primarily because "we want more police protection."

Annexation will likely increase homeowners’ taxes, given Chamblee’s 7.95 millage rate. For someone in a home assessed at $250,000, that increase will be about $220 a year.

But Chamblee residents -- including those in the proposed annexation zone -- will see a .56 mill reduction in their county bill for 2011 because of a recently approved service plan. That cuts about $60 out of any increase. And homeowners 65 and older pay no city taxes in Chamblee.

“The taxes get a little confusing, because for some people it will go up and for some, it will go down,” said Chamblee City Manager Jim Gleason.

Overall, adding the 1,000-plus homes to its borders would increase Chamblee’s annual budget by about $1.7 million, to $17.4 million.

Chamblee expects to break even if annexation passes, since it plans to hire 12 new police officers, including an investigator, four more emergency dispatchers and buy four patrol cars to handle the influx of residents.

If voters approve the annexation, the new borders and the new hires will take effect on Jan. 1.

1 comment:

don Gabacho said...

"There's no groundswell to do this, and I feel this is the sort of thing that will be put in place and be impossible to stop," said one man during public comment.

Another neighbor said, "It seems so surreptitious that all of the sudden that this is in the air, Brookhaven city. Where did that come from?"

Both are quite right. Chamblee is actually lowering its tax rate to, in effect, extent the hegemony of the obsessively hegemonic ('incorporatist') MxGov.

Do not underestimate both the resolve and dementia proponets of the expansion will descend, and already have, to impose the appropriation of unicorporated areas of DeKalb County whether the ploy be ultimately in the name of "Chamblee," "Doraville," "Dunwoody" or even a "Brookhaven."

Probable opponents of the ploy in both county and state government pertinent to the districts have already been eliminated from public office.

That Jacobs had said "the bill would allow residents in the area to have greater control over zoning and safety issues" but planning to go to the Georgia State legislature to impose the bill belies is certainly telling of his claim that it "your right to decide what your form of government should be."