The Lakeside City Alliance, a community group exploring official status for a 20-square-mile section of unincorporated DeKalb County, has raised $10,000 so far, chairwoman Mary Kay Woodworth said Thursday at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Atlanta during an informational meeting.
“Obviously, fundraising is a big priority,” she said. “It has to be funded by individuals.”
The event drew 100 out of an expected 350 attendees, compared to the Feb. 13 meeting at Lakeside High School that attracted between 400 and 500 audience members.
“We’re having a little smaller group than we anticipated, based on the last meeting,” Woodworth said.
DeKalb County police officers were on duty while Woodworth and others discussed potentially divisive aspects of forming a new city.
“There’s been a lot of controversy about the name, city of Lakeside. I keep telling people it’s a place-holder name,” Woodworth said.
“If we named it city of Oak Grove or Northlake or Sagamore, there would be people unhappy because they would feel one was getting more preferential treatment than another.”
She said the community of Tucker was unhappy with the proposed boundaries, which include I-85, I-285 and U.S. 78.
“Tucker proper is no longer included in our map because of political pressure,” Woodworth said.
“There are a large number of communities in that area that are assembling to talk about this and are still interested in being put back into our map.”
Cityhood expert Oliver Porter, who helped Sandy Springs incorporate in 2005, warned that residents may not even get the chance to vote if state lawmakers get confused.
“I understand there are four different bills being filed for cityhood. It’s going to be very difficult to get something through the Legislature if there’s a whole raft of different, competing bills going forward,” he said.
Kevin Levitas, the former District 82 State Rep., said the risks of incorporation include uncertainty about the functions the city would take over from the county.
“The county is experienced with providing service delivery,” Levitas said. “A new city wouldn’t be. “
The benefits, according to District 79 State Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Dunwoody, include direct access to politicians.
“It’s a local throat you can get your hands around,” he said.