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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

DeKalb not ready for city of Brookhaven

From :The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By April Hunt

The threat of a new city being carved out of a swath of north-central DeKalb County later this year could mean higher taxes for county residents come 2013.
If voters in the area between Buckhead and Chamblee vote to become Brookhaven this summer, DeKalb stands to lose between $25 and $27 million in revenue, some of it as early as December. Tuesday, the county administration said it had yet to plan exactly how it would deal with that blow.

“Our only options are to raise revenues, reduce expenses or draw down our reserves,” said chief operating officer Richard Stogner, adding a mix of those options will be the most likely outcome.

Six new cities have taken shape in metro Atlanta since 2005, most recently last year’s incorporation of Peachtree Corners in Gwinnett County.

In nearly every case, supporters argue the new cities mean better services and more responsive government. But since each new city must include plenty of commercial land so taxes will cover those services, critics argue the incorporation movement leaves behind poorer or mostly residential areas.

DeKalb has made those same criticisms. But Stogner said the county still cannot begin planning until it sees if Brookhaven residents agree to become a city. The bill allowing that vote is being finalized in the state Legislature and is expected to be signed soon by Gov. Nathan Deal.
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