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BrookhavenNO, ChambleeYES

A new entry into The Forum explains why he'll be voting 'NO' on July 31 and 'YES' on Nov. 6.


(Author's note: The opinions expressed below belong only to the author. They do not necessarily represent the opinions of other residents in Dresden East neighborhoods or Dresden East Civic Association (DECA). The author supports the expression of differing opinions on cityhood.)

When I tell friends that I am against the proposed city of Brookhaven and for my area’s annexation into the city of Chamblee, I often get asked why I care about Brookhaven since I don’t live in the proposed city. I also get asked why I am against one city and for another. 

These are very valid questions. 

Surprisingly, the reasons I’m against a city of Brookhaven are very similar to the reasons why I’m for Chamblee annexation. We’ll get to that in a minute, but first, why do I care about Brookhaven?

It started about a year ago when state Rep Mike Jacobs and Citizens for North DeKalb (C4ND) released their map of the proposed city. Like many other Dresden East residents I was shocked that the proposed city included almost all of the commercial area surrounding our neighborhoods, but none of the residential areas.

When DECA invited Jacobs and C4ND to a meeting so we could share our concerns with them, we were told by J. Max Davis that C4ND felt that the borders of Brookhaven should naturally extend to Clairmont Road. When asked why the proposed city extended east of Clairmont Road only to include Century Center, Plaza Fiesta and the southern half of PDK, we got no response.   

After months of heavy pressure from DECA members, other Dresden East residents and Chamblee officials, Jacobs and C4ND finally dropped all the disputed commercial land from the proposed city. If not for the help of Chamblee, some of that commercial land would probably still be in Brookhaven. 

By the time this land was dropped, numerous other serious concerns had surfaced about the proposed city of Brookhaven that will affect our neighborhoods if Brookhaven passes. We had also begun looking into becoming part of the city of Chamblee in order to preserve our options.

It became clear to me that it was in everyone’s best interest for the city of Brookhaven to fail and for us to annex into Chamblee. Here are three reasons why:

1)     Local control: Shifting some of the county’s responsibilities to local officials such as a mayor, city manager and city council makes sense. It allows you get to know your elected officials and makes them more accountable. If you don’t like who’s running for mayor or city council, vote against them! Is there political bickering in city governments? Of course there is, but given the option I’d rather have local representatives that are more connected to my neighborhood in addition to my DeKalb commissioner. On the issue of local control, Vote: BrookhavenYES, ChambleeYES, DeKalbNO.

2)     Better services including police protection: DeKalb’s sanitation department does an amazing job, but for every well run department in DeKalb there are several others that need major improvement. The DeKalb police do a good job, but recent cuts to the Interactive Community Policing program have hurt. Plus, the location of the North Precinct is still up in the air.

BrookhavenYES promises better services, but can they deliver? Included in the promises are better police coverage and more patrols, but since the city will only have 53 officers or slightly less officers per person than DeKalb, it’s hard to see how this will be possible. Brookhaven’s poverty rate and population will be similar to Smyrna’s, which has 91 police officers. Brookhaven has about half the amount of land as Smyrna does, but that doesn’t mean it should have half as many officers. The city of Brookhaven will not have adequate police protection.

Chamblee, on the other hand, offers roughly twice the amount of police officers per person than the proposed city of Brookhaven. When they annexed the Huntley Hills neighborhood, their police immediately went in and cleaned-up the Savoy Drive area. They have a plan to combat gangs and their police chief (along with other elected officials), have been very eager to answer all of our questions and concerns. On the issue of services including police protection, Vote: BrookhavenNO, ChambleeYES, DeKalbNO.

3)     Taxes and finance: If the proposed city of Brookhaven passes it will have a lower millage (tax) rate than DeKalb County, with Chamblee having the highest millage rate. So BrookhavenYES, ChambleeNO, DeKalbNO, right?  Not so fast, my friends!

When the CVI study for the proposed city of Brookhaven was first released, Brookhaven had a millage rate of 6.39 identical to DeKalb County and a surplus of about $3 million. After receiving harsh criticism from many who correctly pointed out that he had promised Brookhaven would have lower taxes, Rep. Jacobs put out a revised study with a tax rate of 3.35 mills and a surplus of about $300,000. DeKalb County has since released data showing that given updated property values, Brookhaven would start off in debt. While Jacobs is suddenly silent, BrookhavenYES has denied DeKalb’s claims, but failed to produce an updated CVI study to prove their case.

Even if DeKalb is wrong, Brookhaven will start out with a very slim surplus.  Furthermore, if they do go into debt, due to the millage cap they cannot raise taxes unless their residents vote to do so. After being told for many months to vote for cityhood to lower their tax burden, do you think Brookhaven residents will vote to raise their taxes? Not likely. If they won’t raise their taxes, what services get cut? Not police. Maybe the parks budget?

Chamblee provides a high level of service. It has kept its tax rate the same as last year while putting aside nearly $1,500,000 to prepare for our possible annexation.  

One mil = $628,270 - You do the math. Chamblee has a slightly higher tax rate because they are investing in their future. They have fully restored their reserve and funded the recent annexation of Huntley Hills. On the issue of taxes and finance, Vote: BrookhavenNO, ChambleeYES, DeKalbNO.

These are some of the reasons why I hope that the city of Brookhaven fails and why I will be voting for my neighborhood’s annexation into Chamblee in November regardless of what happens with Brookhaven. My hope is that after all the voting is over, we will continue to use all the passion and energy we have exhibited regarding cityhood to better our communities and schools.

Jordan Fox

Jack of Kings July 30, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Paving Statistics in the Brookhaven Footprint as per Dekalb County Records It is hard to "spin" numbers. This analysis reveals county versus city performance on road resurfacing and is drawn from DeKalb County’s own records: Dekalb County paved a total of 1.9 miles of roads in Brookhaven (2010) Details by Road: Brooklawn: .41 miles Clearview: .23 Granger: .13 Hermance: .08 Navajo: .04 Oglethorpe: .22 Old Briarwood: .05 Rennes: .11 Tennyson: .22 Wawona: .15 Wilmont: .21 1.97 Total Miles in Brookhaven Foootprint in 2011 Road Details: North Druid Hills Road: 1.97 miles--(one paving project in all of Brookhaven for the whole year of 2011) So far in the 2012 election year- 2.93 miles Brookhaven Dr- .48 Coosawattee- .2 E. Brookhaven Dr.- .8 Ellijay- .26 Fairway Cir- 1.06 Oaklawn- .13 In 2.5 years, Dekalb County has paved a total of 6.8 miles in Brookhaven. Dunwoody has paved 19 miles in the past 2 years. Sandy Springs has paved almost 100 miles in the last 4 years. Source: http://www.co.dekalb.ga.us/publicwrks/roads_drainage/pdf/pavingList.pdf
HDM July 30, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Mr. Fox is repeating numbers he found from the NOCity/DeKalb Democrat "politics 101" playbook. The NOCity campaign of personal attacks and attempts to spread Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt will not sway the intelligent voters in Brookhaven. Brookhaven will be a very viable, fiscally conservative city providing enhanced local services like our neighbors in sister cities Dunwoody and Sandy Springs when voters approve it on July 31.
Jack of Kings July 30, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Non-Brookhaven Resident Tells Brookhaven Residents How to Vote Jordan--thanks for telling everyone why you want to be annexed by Chamblee and that you do not live in the Brookhaven footprint.that you do not even live in the proposed City of Brookhaven footprint. So you were insulted in the beginning by the proponents of Brookhaven. Maybe that was poorly handled by the proponents in the early stages. But it means nothing right now. NOCITY Brookhaven has clearly been in cahoots with Dekalb County. Understandably, you do not mention that fact that would weaken your "analysis". You are working towards a conclusion in your article and bringing that fact up does not help your conclusions...
Jack of Kings July 30, 2012 at 05:02 PM
...Your analysis is directed at those that would be affected (clearly not you)--but you "neglect" to be honest enough to note the increase in HOST revenues going to Brookhaven--$1.4 Million more than expected. You totally ignored presenting that fact--shifting the story to a decided budget surplus. With all due respect, thank you for taking the time to tell US--those that will be directly affected by having 12% of our tax bill going to Brookhaven--on why you disagree with something that you are not involved with, but let US decide the issue. And I'll promise not to write in the Patch Forum why I do not think Chamblee should annex YOUR neighborhood. Because I have no business putting my nose in that issue. Good Luck with Chamblee. Great city in Dekalb. And Brookhaven will be too soon.
Eric H July 30, 2012 at 05:12 PM
And what happens to Brookhaven when it is further walled off from the rest of Dekalb by the Chamblee Annexation? Even DeKalb loses since they still have to service areas all the way up to 285 so no benefit of a more compact service area for them. Lets look at Mr. Fox's Analysis 1. Local Control (we all agree for these limited services a city is better), 2. Better Services/ Police Protection and 3. Taxes/Finance Its understandable that Mr. Fox would think Brookhaven projections show a deficit or slim surplus. Understandable because DeKalb County released that chart and press release adjusting the property tax digest for the City of Brookhaven and reducing that portion of our revenue stream to show a deficit. Problem is that's only 25% of the revenue stream, DeKalb knew at the time of that release that the HOST revenue stream had risen by more than the decline in the property tax digest so that the surplus is actually bigger than the CVI's projections. Why did DeKalb do this to its citizens? I think this is where the relevance of the emails comes into play. Mr. Fox also ignores that the CVI projections forecast increases of over 3 times on how much we spend on Parks and Roads. Plus as all of the recently formed cities of comparable size can attest to, CVI underestimates Revenues and overestimates costs. We also have Town Sembler that was not included because its abatement had not come off yet. Adjusting for this, clearly the answer is YES Brookhaven.
Eric H July 30, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Jordan, you do know that the plan by DeKalb was to get Brookhaven to fail because that drastically increases the chances of the Chamblee Annexation failing. Surely you agree if Brookhaven happens it will lead to many in the Chamblee Annexation area to vote yes because they will then be in the unincorporated peninsula and then suffer the negative effects of being in an isolated corner of a large government's services. This may be desirable in rural areas, but not so much in urban/suburban areas especially when you are surrounded by cities on all 3 sides. If Brookhaven fails, it will be easier for the county to beat back the Chamblee Annexation. While I understand the notion that Chamblee has a good reserve and an unbelievably spectacular police presence (I sometimes almost think there are more police officers in Chamblee than residents). You know what they will do they will compare the millage rate of for Chamblee Residents vs. the temporary millage rate for unincorporated Dekalb residents that was artificially manipulated this year to show a lower rate for unicorporated DeKalb. Chamblee's higher millage rate than Brookhaven will be ripe fodder for those working against Chamblee's annexation.
Jack of Kings July 30, 2012 at 05:31 PM
There are a number of revenue sources that the CVI study that understandably were not included: Town Brookhaven--each year that goes up by 10% as the tax abatement expires. And the Sembler development is not totally leased out either--but obviously headed there. Tax revenues can be safely projected as going up every year for the next 8 years. Two NEW apartment developments are being built on Dresden. CVI study could not have factored in revenues from these developments. Vacant land waiting for development behind Costco will eventually be developed. And revenues will be incoming. The old Hastings site will be developed--and will be paying taxes. No way to know how much. There are vacancies in commercial areas on Buford Highway--do they become leased or stay vacant? Unknowable...but if you believe the economy will eventually get better, the trend would be less vacancies--and more commercial tax revenues. The point being--there are significant potential contributors to the tax digest within the proposed City of Brookhaven.
Eric H July 30, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Bingo Phil, though you missed another huge addition to the revenue stream . 4004 Perimeter Summit., A 400,000 Square Foot Class A office tower on that 4th Building Pad at the Perimeter Summit. Plus there are other building parcels for commercial up there. http://www.mosatlanta.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/CentralPerimeter4Q09.pdf See page 3 of 4. As the market comes back this will get built, and a City of Brookhaven will make it happen quicker since commercial property does not get the HOST Credit and thus a City of Brookhaven represents a tax cut for them. If Brookhaven doesn't happen it will be Dunwoody's win since as Dunwoody Mayor Davis said, the commercial owners up there want to be in a city. They have alread asked Dunwoody, and Dunwoody has apparently told them that if Brookhaven fails then they will be more than happy to get this tax base. Which means DeKalb will kiss goodbye to some nice parks funding but will still retain the costs of maintaining the parks. Brookhaven would at least also relieve DeKalb of the costs of maintaining the parks. Corporate Square and the rest of the Frontage on I 85 also offer places to place Class A space.
Jack of Kings July 30, 2012 at 06:12 PM
@Eric--The City of Brookhaven clearly has alot of future potential revenue sources in commercial areas. Thanks for the input. And it is no wonder that Dekalb County wants to defeat the City of Brookhaven. I guess we cannot blame Dekalb for not having Brookhaven residents' interests as their prime concern. They are concerned about keeping poser--and money-- in their control. Less money? Less Control. And it is why we want a City of Brookhaven. We want some power and control over our local concerns.
Amanda Hugginkiss July 30, 2012 at 06:21 PM
BBBRRRROOOOOOOOOOOO OOKKKKKKHHHHAAAAAVVVVVVVEEEEEEEENNNNNNNN CCCCCCCIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTYYYYYYYYYY WWWWWWWWIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLL NNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTTT HHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNN.
Amanda Hugginkiss July 30, 2012 at 06:21 PM
I'm in my echo chamber smoking a big fat cigar.
Eric H July 30, 2012 at 06:29 PM
http://lambertcre.com/wordpress/atlanta-commercial-real-estate-office-space-activity-spikes-in-the-perimeter-center-office-market/ "One Atlanta commercial real estate market has been getting a lot of attention from Atlanta real estate brokers and expanding companies. The Perimeter office market has been making news all year long as multiple companies have searched for office space and signed large commercial real estate leases. " ". In 2012, the smart money and Atlanta commercial real estate brokers have focused on this important office submarket of Atlanta. What makes the Perimeter area so attractive for companies that are growing and expanding? Most CEOs are quick to point to the large pool of talented workers that this area offers and the central geographic location. "
Jack of Kings July 30, 2012 at 06:31 PM
You are obvioulsy smoking something, Amanda. LOL
Jordan Fox July 30, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Dean, wasn't it you who made a comment in another Patch article earlier today scolding me for making personal attacks?
Jordan Fox July 30, 2012 at 06:41 PM
We should all have a drink together after this is over!
Joe July 30, 2012 at 06:47 PM
I heard that Bats n Balls might be hoppin' tomorrow nite, along with Pub 71. That's the right attitude Jordan!
Eric H July 30, 2012 at 06:47 PM
http://issuu.com/colliersatlanta/docs/centralperimeter1q12# "Central Perimeter led the Atlanta market in office space absorption in the first quarter [of 2012]. " " After a rough 2011, office leasing is returning to Central Perimeter. The submarket remains one of the more attractive areas for companies to relocate offices. It is expected to be one of the strongest office submarkets in 2012."
Jack of Kings July 30, 2012 at 06:57 PM
I agree...regardless of how the vote goes, it will be in EVERYONE's interest that we work together to: Make the new City of Brookhaven work for its residents as efficiently and effectively as possible or, Make sure that Dekalb County allocates more resources to the Brookhaven area.
Jack of Kings July 30, 2012 at 07:03 PM
DeKalb transfers park money for south DeKalb park AJC.com today The DeKalb County Commission recently agreed to transfer $16,000 from a parks bond fund to add features to a facility in south-central DeKalb. The money will pay for buying and installing shade sails for the amphitheater at Rainbow Drive Park. The funding comes from parks bond money for that area but exceeds money originally set aside for the park development.
Eric H July 30, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Just want to give this thread a bump. The evidence is ample, the money is there. www.brookhavenyes.org. We have the tax base necessary and we all agree local control is a better way to run Police, Parks, Roads and Drainage and Planning and Zoning.
HamBurger July 30, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Latest polling information, based on feedback from our volunteer field network is: 57.65% NO with the remainder YES or UNDECIDED. Respondents concerns with the new city in no specific order are as follows: - New city concept sold hard with confusing facts. - Out of date and incomplete data being used to promote cityhood. - Distrust of the new city promoter motives (MJ) and manner in which the cityhood concept was developed in neighborhoods around Silver Lake and north. - Lack of commercial property in new city. - Concerned petty politics will continue in new city with the select few BY folks running new city. - Distrust of Brookhaven Yes key supporters, their election to city offices, and manipulating city government for their benefit. - Do not want another layer of government. Had rather work to change existing government. - Bothered that CVI Study was not linked to HB 636 for cityhood guidance and development. - Feel cityhood issue should have required more time for development. Some respondents were very strong in stating their distrust of cityhood promoters and the short timeframe for issue vote. Many were not impressed with the last minute shenanigans of the Brookhaven Yes folks. The WSB-TV piece with J. Max Davis showed how little he knows about the southern portion of the city. Anyone have a link to that video? Special hamburger and Cheerwine?
HamBurger July 31, 2012 at 12:30 AM
What was your take-a-way from that two minute J. Max Davis spot on WSB? He appears to be a man obsessed with a sign . . . Go watch the video, how trite for someone wanting to create a new city! https://www.onlinefilefolder.com/2s55xD25VvTtU6 J. Max Davis is a man living in a fine neighborhood with their own swim club on a beautiful private lake. Really, it is a very nice area and it is not some place where you pay your 50¢ and you swim. Paying the going rate for membership in his club I seriously doubt he would ever visit one of DeKalb County’s parks with a pool. Yet, he did today for this WSB-TV news piece. And, he is clueless as to what is going on with Briarwood Park. He has absolutely no idea what those folks in Drew Valley and Brookhaven Fields are in the initial stages of planning for this park and clearly has no clue as to any of the recent renovations in the park performed by DeKalb County. Really, is this all he had? Brookhaven Yes’s J. Max Davis, a potential candidate for mayor, has absolutely no clue what is going on in Briarwood Park. He wants a new city? Please . . . Quick! Give me a Cheerwine and a special hamburger with extra yellow mustard!
Dr. Jeff July 31, 2012 at 02:07 AM
As if we could care...
Dr. Jeff July 31, 2012 at 02:08 AM
YAWN....
Dr. Jeff July 31, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Hamburgular is boring as hell! Her pickles must be frigid...
Eric H July 31, 2012 at 03:35 AM
See above to links on the improving condition of the office market in the perimeter Center some of which will be in Brookhaven. We are solid from a finance point of view. The Carl Vinson Institute numbers are conservative, just as they have been for all of the other comparable cities. We know that based on the net of the decline the property tax digest and the greater increase in the HOST revenues that we will have a large surplus while also increasing spending on Parks, Roads and Drainage, and Sidewalks. This thread shows many in the opposition agree that local control is better for these services. We will still be apart of DeKalb and services like Sanitation and Fire will come from them. www.Brookhavenyes.org has links to the Carl Vinson institute. I would also suggest visiting http://www.thecrier.net/news/collection_667ef65c-b002-11e1-8c23-0019bb2963f4.html to get a good analysis of many issues surrounding the city and its finances and services.
Eric H July 31, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Can I ask a question about this line?: "Latest polling information, based on feedback from our volunteer field network is:" According to the disclosures filed by No City Brookhaven you guys spent a lot of money on professional polling why would you be getting polling information from a volunteer field network, or am I reading that incorrectly?
Sparrow Cutlet July 31, 2012 at 09:25 PM
A crush? An unhealthy fixation? Similar? You tell me. HamBurger What was your take-a-way from that two minute J. Max ... July 31: My Last Chance For... -by HamBurger HamBurger What was your take-a-way from that two minute J. Max ... Never Mind The Facts -by HamBurger HamBurger What was your take-a-way from that two minute J. Max ... How Does 'Brookhaven ... -by HamBurger HamBurger What was your take-a-way from that two minute J. Max ... BrookhavenNO, ChambleeYES -by HamBurger HamBurger What was your take-a-way from that two minute J. Max ... Gannon Responds To ... -by HamBurger HamBurger What was your take-a-way from that two minute J. Max ... Parent Voting 'No' On ... -by HamBurger
don Gabacho July 31, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Jordan. Don't go.

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