Those in DeKalb County opposed to incorporating a city of Brookhaven would have you believe that the risk is too great. That there are too many unknowns.
Who will be on the city council and who will be mayor? Will revenues be strong enough to sustain the level of service? Will the police force be sufficient to protect us? Will our taxes and fees rise?
But what of the unknowns of the status quo? What happens if the referendum fails and we remain unincorporated? The opponents are correct; we know more about the status quo, and there are fewer unknowns.
We know the long history of the dysfunctional relationship between the DeKalb CEO and the County Commission. We know that dysfunction leads to inaction and inefficiencies.
We know our elected DeKalb officials, and we know they do not live in Brookhaven. We know that even if our commissioner’s opponent wins the next election, he will still only be one vote of seven on the commission, and still have to represent nearly 135,000 voters, stretching all the way to Tucker and Smoke Rise.
We know DeKalb’s bond referendums and revenues have shifting priorities; and the Brookhaven library has not benefited from those bonds.
We know DeKalb’s property tax digest has weakened and the county will be forced to either raise taxes or reduce services. We know the ease with which taxes can be raised when there is no need for voter approval. We also know that property values in the Brookhaven footprint are stronger than the county as a whole and will likely recover more quickly.
We know the reported discussion about consolidating DeKalb’s north police precinct south to Memorial Drive, potentially leaving our area without a facility.
And we know that our parks budget will remain insufficient for DeKalb to maintain and improve our beautiful greenspace.
So I agree with the opposition, we do in fact, know more about the status quo. But which is the greater risk for Brookhaven?