In the packed cafeteria at Cross Keys High School, several panelists from newer and older cities in DeKalb and Fulton counties were present: Sandy Springs Councilwoman Dianne Fries, Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos, Decatur Mayor Bill Floyd, Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker, Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson, Dunwoody Community Development Director Steve Dush, Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan, Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis and Dunwoody Finance Director Chris Pike.
Kim Gokce, of the Cross Keys Foundation, served as the moderator and reiterated the purpose of the meeting was for information sharing.
“We have about a month left to cast a vote,” said Gokce. “Voting is a sacred duty and is personal and I take the issue seriously. We have to talk about questions and answers on your mind about the proposed city of Brookhaven.”
The crowd was mixed with many Brookhaven Yes supporters, as well as those who were against incorporation.
Before the panel remarks, Linley Jones with Brookhaven Yes talked about services that would be under local control if the city incorporated — parks, police, roads and drainage, zoning and code enforcement. She also mentioned that the millage rate would not be able to change from 3.35 mills without a public referendum vote.
All of the panelists reiterated the concept of local control of services and needed projects in their areas. Fries touted Sandy Springs new and improved parks system.
While Decatur, the county seat, was established 190 years ago, Floyd added cityhood brings about a sense of community that makes residents feel like they belong, as well as better and quicker access to public officials.
“You get a chance to talk to them and tell them what you’re thinking,” said Floyd. “I get a chance every day to meet new people and that’s how you find out what is going on in the community.”
Davis said the panelists were there because they truly believe cities are the way to go.
“At some point a county gets too big and it doesn’t provide services that you want,” said Davis. “You have to give local services to local people in the area — it’s important.”