State Law Allowing Cityhood Creates Economic Classism

Drawing on historic comparison, Ellis calls Jacobs opinion piece 'nonsense'

There may be a reason for residents of DeKalb County to consider voting for another layer of government, but it is not the nonsense presented by Rep. Mike Jacobs in his op-ed on cityhood. Any eighth grade history student knows the American Revolution was conceived on the flawed principle of taxation without representation.  What we have here is exploitation of current state law based on bad public policy.  This is why:

When choice commercial and residential properties are usurped into newly proposed cities, it increases the tax burden for everyone who is left outside of the city limits. This is actually a more accurate application of Jacobs’ analogy. The citizens and businesses of DeKalb who will shoulder the cost (i.e. increased tax burden) of a new city cannot vote on it under current law.  That’s taxation without representation.

 The current law also creates economic classism and dilutes the voting strength of minorities. It moves us as a county and region further away from the “beloved community” that our native son, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., often advocated. 

It is wrong to mislead residents into thinking that somehow their taxes will go down if they create a new city. Ask any newly created city, revenues are always over-estimated and expenses are underestimated. It is time to tell the truth to our citizens—if the referendum passes, residents of Ashford/Brookhaven will pay more in property taxes than they do right now.

It is also a tactic of Rep. Jacobs to bring out the “wasteful government” boogeyman. Let’s examine the facts:  Since 2009, I have cut spending by $130 million and the overall operating budget has declined from $636 million to $559 million. We are working with 1,000 fewer employees than we had in 2008, and maintaining the same levels of government services. We are the most efficient government of its size, anywhere.

State lawmakers should address the inequity in the law that pits cities against counties and neighbors against neighbors.  Let us work on those things that bind us together as ONE DeKalb, as one beloved community. Rep. Jacobs’ divisive rhetoric harkens back to a time and era that this state, region and nation have long since rejected.”


Burrell Ellis is the CEO of DeKalb County.

Hank1234 March 16, 2012 at 11:05 PM
"We are tired of our tax money being spent on financing infrastructure improvements in South DeKalb county instead of being spent on financing infrastructure improvements in the neighborhood where the tax money originated from." No need to refute it; you're right! Ask someone without a microphone in their face, they'll tell you the same. I live in Brokehaven (sic) and I don't see anything wrong with wanting our "choice" tax dollars to stay around here. We earned the money to purchase the "choice" real estate, we earn the money to pay the taxes on the "choice" real estate, the money should stay close to that "choice" real estate. The same ancestors Mr. Ellis quoted in his letter would be shocked at the general acceptance of this plunder which is exactly why we have a Republic instead of a Democracy.
Hank1234 March 16, 2012 at 11:32 PM
"E Pluribus Unum" March 23, 2012 at 12:23 PM
A very good article by Commissioner Ellis. The political process has been hijacked by a well connected, influential few, using an incomplete and biased cost benefit study. Most of the community residents affected by the new city are unaware of the issues involved and have had no input. This is also true for all residents living in DeKalb County. The process needs to slow down. The entire DeKalb County residents should have an opportunity to vote of ANY new city. Finally, the tactic of creating unnecessary fear and resentment with county government to achieve political gain is obvious. What this has become is a sophisticated form of white flight IMHO.
hmm June 19, 2012 at 05:32 PM
So what is it? Brookhaven CVI study is bad and there is NOT enough MONEY to support the city or Brookhaven is poaching more than its fair share of the valuable tax base. Come on people you can't play both sides. HOLY MOLY ME OH MY! I can't believe Burrell Ellis' administration is taking a page out of Kasim Reed's playbook and paying an anonymous poster or 2 or 3 to flood message boards under different aliases with antagonistic and false information. Its effective in that it discourages the typical reader from using the message boards to ask questions and get information thus making a vote for a Change that much harder to sell. Well hope you anonymous paid posters at least spend some of your earnings in DeKalb. Because in the long run letting this ship run its course without change will hurt everyone. Incorporation of both more areas of DeKalb also helps the County Government because it allows it to focus better on the services it can deliver. Good luck, sorry I don't have time to stay, I'm on my way, but have to say, pay now or pay much more later.
HDM June 19, 2012 at 05:54 PM
You know, that is a good point, if DeKalb Government is so concerned that Brookhaven citizens are making a mistake incorporating because the CVI study is wrong (not that it is true but that is the FUD they are slinging), then the bureacracy should be glad to get the city level expenses from our area off their balance sheet...


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