Representatives from the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government spoke with state senators last week who serve on a study committee led by District 55 State Sen. Gloria Butler, D-Stone Mountain, to gather information and opinions about the possible incorporation of the city of DeKalb.
District 44 State Sen. Gail Davenport, D-Jonesboro, explained her constituents have told her the creation of new cities in the county puts a financial burden on taxpayers in the unincorporated areas of south DeKalb County.
“Their concern was that if you keep creating all these cities, then the other part of south DeKalb would not flourish and would not benefit,” she said.
John O’Lonney, with the institute, said not only would establishing unincorporated DeKalb County as its own city prevent new cities from developing, but it would also restrict existing cities from expanding via annexation.
District 40 State Sen. Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, explained the process to incorporate the city of DeKalb would take at least two years and existing cities could vote for annexation within that time period.
Millar inquired about the role of the county if the city of DeKalb were to be chartered. He said county operations should not duplicate services provided by the new city. The size of the county’s staff should be reduced, he added, if the county is no longer providing certain services and because the county’s payroll should reflect the loss in county revenue with the creation of a new city.
Matt Hauer, with the institute, discussed demographics within unincorporated DeKalb County and the cities within the county.
Demographic data compiled by Hauer show the median home value and median household income in unincorporated DeKalb County are less than those same demographic indicators in several cities, including Decatur, Dunwoody, Brookhaven and Atlanta.
The institute was not commissioned to conduct a formal study but met with the state senators to discuss general concerns about the possible incorporation. Representatives from the institute have previously looked into the city of DeKalb incorporation as the idea has been proposed multiple times in the past.
The Senate study committee will meet Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. at the State Capitol, 4th floor, room 450.