Members of the City of Briarcliff Initiative, the Lakeside City Alliance and Tucker 2014 each discussed with the delegation why their individual city plans of Briarcliff, Lakeside and Tucker made the most sense. President of the City of Briarcliff Initiative Allen Venet was the first to present at the meeting.
“We are all looking for ways to improve DeKalb County, and new cities help that effort,” he said. Venet said the proposed city of Briarcliff’s strength included a bipartisan effort, sensible borders and the right for everyone to vote. A non-issue for the group, he said, were schools that would continue to be run by the county.
“This initiative was started because there are serious flaws with DeKalb County,” Venet said. “Through listening to citizens’ complaints, anyone knows the DeKalb County bureaucracy is flawed.” He also pointed to cities that already exist in the county as examples of why cityhood is good.
“Cities can and should be part of the solution for DeKalb County’s problems,” Venet said. “Cities that already exist in DeKalb are very successful — they have good growth and help the county overall. All of DeKalb County is suburbia, now, and that’s why we’re here. We are a cityhood plan that anybody can and should support.”
Next, chairwoman of the Lakeside City Alliance, Mary Kay Woodworth, presented.
“We take our efforts for cityhood very seriously and our citizens have a number of reasons why they believe Lakeside would work,” she said.
Reasons for citizen interest in the proposed city included local control of government and police, creating a community identity and fiscal responsibility.
“There are not enough DeKalb County police officers to patrol and properly manage all of unincorporated DeKalb County,” Woodworth said. “Therefore, we would form our own police force.”
Similar to Briarcliff, Woodworth said Lakeside would shift about 6 percent of the taxes already going to the county to go directly to the city. Representative from Tucker 2014, Frank Auman, was the last to present. He pointed out that Tucker was already a thriving community that many Atlanta residents assumed was already a city.
“The Tucker name is one of the oldest and most well-known in metro Atlanta,” he said. Auman said several reasons Tucker was vying for cityhood included a formal and legal establishment of borders, ensuring voters and more community success.
“More grassroots, local control is needed for Tucker and we want to take on issues such as parks and recreation, planning and zoning and code enforcement as a city,” he said.
All three proposed cities include the Northlake Mall area in their zoning maps, are considered viable according to the Carl Vinson Institute study and have provisions for their own convention bureaus. Although Woodworth said she believed each city could feasibly exist, all three proposed cities have not yet changed their conflicting maps. Many members of the delegation requested the three groups try to work out their differences before the next legislative hearing on the process, which would occur in another week or two.