Greenhaven Cityhood Facts

Home Page to Leave Land of OZ Greenhaven

Most residents in Gwinnett, Cobb, DeKalb, Clayton, Henry, Rockdale, and Douglas County live in unincorporated areas. Although Gwinnett has the most cities, 16. 75% of its land and the residents live in unincorporated Gwinnett. Fulton County the largest in population is the only county in Georgia where more of its citizens live in cities than unincorporated areas.

The feasibility studies for Stonecrest and Greenhaven were completed in Feb 2015 approximately one year ago. Now the proponents are demanding that they are put on the ballot. Well, not so fast. The feasibility studies were done on only 3 services: Parks and Recreation, Code Enforcement, and Zoning. If these proposed cities had included all the other services that most cities provide these cities would not have passed feasibility.

In the proposed city of Greenhaven 83% of the projected, revenue will come from insurance premiums and franchise fees. 65% of Stonecrest projected revenue is from Insurance Premiums and Franchise Fees. These fees are passed on to residents through your cable and utility bills, and most of the other revenue is going to come from your property taxes. In Greenhaven 78% of the property tax revenue is residential, and 95% of the land parcels are residential. Which means much of the 45 million projected revenue for the city of 300,000 residents will be borne by the residents, and not the business or industrial. In Peachtree Corners the residents do not pay city property taxes because they have a strong business community, however, this will not be the case in Greenhaven if it is created.

The budget numbers do not add up and we do not know what the impact of these proposed cities will have on DeKalb County's budget. Both Stonecrest and Greenhaven feasibility studies only considered 3 services, however, these cities would be responsible for Road and maintenance, Police, Fire, Solid Waste management, Water Supply and distribution, Waste-Water Treatment, Storm-Water collection, and disposal, Electric or Gas utility service. None of these additional services are in their feasibility studies.

Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and Brookhaven feasibility studies were analyzed as full-service cities, unlike Stonecrest and Greenhaven which were only analyzed with 3 services: Parks and Recreation, Code Enforcement, and Zoning. The residents of South DeKalb deserve to know the real facts before referendums are decided, The Stonecrest and Greenhaven CVI feasibility studies were done as city lite, not full-service cities that are the only reason they passed. Neither, Stonecrest or Greenhaven had police services included in their feasibility study as Dunwoody and Brookhaven,

Greenhaven would be the 2nd largest city in the state of Georgia if it is created. It would be located right next to the capital city of Atlanta, which would be very unusual. Greenhaven  would be one of  the least diverse cities in the metro Atlanta in terms of demographics and lack of diversity of businesses. Why were the boundaries drawn this way? The City of Greenhaven would have as much 60,000 senior citizens, about 20% of the population of the 300,000 residents.

Self-determination applies both ways for cityhood and against cityhood. A lot of residents believe that their rights will be violated because they are being forced into a city boundary against their wishes. They are being told that their fate should be up to a referendum vote of the majority. This process as it is would allow a certain region of South DeKalb to dictate the fate of the whole region. In this Country, the rights of the minority are supposed to be protected, and the principle of one man, one vote applies to property rights and representation. The people who live in unincorporated DeKalb bought their houses knowing that they were not in a city, and many want to stay that way. This is why I think a random sample petition of residents in the cityhood process would help determine rather the areas in the South DeKalb region want to be included in the boundary.

The right to create a city is not a right that is guaranteed under either the State of Georgia or Federal Constitution. The State has the right to set requirements for its corporations. The State can change the requirements by law when it wants. A city is a corporation. No one is taking away the right to vote. Why does the State require a petition of 60% or 100% method for annexation and yet have no requirements for who is included in the cityhood boundaries creation?

Cityhood does not mean Economic Development or Growth if so all the cities close to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport would be booming. Say No to more government and corruption.

90% of the development in DeKalb occurred without being in a city. In fact, every mall, including Stonecrest Mall and Perimeter Mall was built before these areas become cities.

The mission of the organization is to advocate for effective government and to provide information about cityhood and annexation to DeKalb County residents. Citizens Against Cityhood supports a moratorium on any new city formations. We believe that the residents of DeKalb deserve a more deliberate process; and that the state legislature needs to make changes to the cityhood and annexation process.

1. We should have some say so at the front end of the process as to whether communities are included in the new city boundaries.

2. It would be equally appropriate for our state legislators to amend the annexations and consolidation laws to prohibit hostile takeovers without the consent of the governed.

3. Some states have laws that require the cities to make up for the lost revenues of the county

4. Alternatives have not been presented to residents in the affected area. For example, smaller cities, opting out of the city, change the annexation laws, court action. and remain unincorporated.

More time should be given to residents to become informed in terms of the impact cityhood would have on their communities and DeKalb County. We do not believe that new cities should be created for the purpose of avoiding prior pension and bond obligations. We strongly believe that taxes should be equitably applied to all residents in both incorporated and unincorporated DeKalb. We do not believe that a city will create jobs, that is the mission of the chamber of commerce and private citizens. We do not want to trade our suburban communities for an urban jungle; We do not want more crime, corruption, and government. We want better leadership and collaboration all over North, Central and South DeKalb.

South DeKalb could look like Clayton County, Miami Gardens, Tuskegee, Alabama, East Saint Louis, Liberty City, Gary Indiana, Detroit, Washington, DC, or Ferguson, Missouri if the cityhood bill is passed by the state assembly and the referendum is passed by the voters. Ask the proponents of cityhood which city they plan to use as a model for South DeKalb or Stonecrest. I do not mean what the feasibility study used. I mean which city do they believe South DeKalb will look like in the future with similar demographics and population. South DeKalb (Greenhaven) uses the New York City skyline in their logo. Would you put your trust in someone that does not have a plan and a model of what they are proposing?????

What cityhood will likely bring is more government with rules and regulations, more jails and courts, more crime, more corruption, more traffic tickets, more code enforcement, fewer businesses, and bad customer service.

Ask the proponents of cityhood to try their economic development experiment somewhere else like Lithonia, South DeKalb Mall or West End. Macon, Miami Gardens, FL. or Tuskegee, Alabama before trying it on us. We want to see the evidence, not just plans.

Fulton County is the only county in Georgia which is completely covered with cities. The next county is Gwinnett County which has 16 cities. DeKalb County has 13 cities, which includes some of Atlanta. The state legislature has not considered what it would mean to the taxpayers if DeKalb County became completely covered with cities. The feasibility reports that are conducted do not consider that impact of cities on DeKalb County or other cities.

The proponents of the City of Greenhaven (South DeKalb) model their NPU (Neighborhood Planning Units) after Atlanta. After 40 years of high crime, bad schools, and no development in south and west sides of Atlanta, The proponents of Cityhood in South DeKalb want to model the same failure that was used in Atlanta. Say No Thanks.

We are concerned as you are about the direction and leadership in DeKalb County. We want some of the same things you want, however, we do not want to make our situation worse than it is now. The proponents of the cityhood movement do not have any track record, and nothing to show in regards to an example of what they are talking about. Ask the proponents of cityhood to clean up their own neighborhoods in terms of the types of businesses, bad schools, beautification, traffic and crime and then and only then should we believe anything they are trying to sell us.

The real reason why cityhood bills were introduced in DeKalb was so that new school districts could be created. The new school district bill HR4 sponsored by Rep Tom Taylor this year is sitting on the table waiting on an opportunity to be passed. This will hurt DeKalb School’s budget and have a very negative impact on South DeKalb more than anything else on the horizon. In North DeKalb, there are a couple of movements to create state charter schools in an effort to avoid the need to create a separate school district and get around the Ga Constitution restrictions. These cityhood and separation movements go at the heart of Brown vs. Board of education US Supreme Court case, separate but equal case, and many of the civil rights advancement made during the sixties in terms of public accommodations and where people can afford to live.

Take a look at the Southside of the City of Atlanta, and drive down Campbellton Road in SW Atlanta, and you will see what a city will do for you and your community. The proponents of Cityhood in South DeKalb say that they modeled their city charter community involvement after Atlanta’s neighborhood planning units. Well, those neighborhood planning units did not seem to help the residents and communities in many of the communities in Atlanta. Why then did many of the communities in Atlanta experience crime, blight, and lack of businesses, low home values, and bad schools. The proponents of cityhood want to use our tax money to create projects and jobs for their friends.

Do Not Believe the Hype!!! Unincorporated DeKalb is not paying more for Bonds and Pensions than others in DeKalb County. It is not true and the facts are being stretched to create fear. The proponents of cityhood are simply not explaining the differences in the services and how the pension is funded.

It is believed by some legal professionals that the proposed new city charters are unconstitutional and this may require new cities to provide more than 3 services, which means that property taxes will increase in the future to meet the needs of the city. The proposed new city charter will not be limited to only providing 3 services as the city charters are being portrayed, code enforcement, parks and recreation, and zoning; and these new cities will not require a referendum to add additional services based on the GA constitutional. You are being tricked into passing the referendum and you will be surprised afterward about the real deal. If you do not believe it read Article 9 of the Georgia Constitution which spells out all the powers of counties and municipalities. In addition, House Bill (HB477) was passed this year would require cities to maintain roads and etc.

According to the county budget department, the new cities are contributing to the county pension plan, though not to the same extent as if they had not become a city. The typical portions that new cities may not be equally contributing to are police and designated services if new cities are providing their own services in those areas. All the other county funds contribute to the pension.

The HOST property tax exemption, which rides on top of your Homestead, vanishes in a new city, as the HOST is covered by a penny of sales tax collected by DeKalb. This will result in an automatic property tax increase, averaging 15-30 percent when you leave unincorporated DeKalb. Ask homeowners in Brookhaven and Dunwoody.

The combined revenue hits of Brookhaven, Dunwoody, If Tucker and possibly LaVista Hills, followed by possibly Stonecrest or South DeKalb become cities it will begin to make it financially unfeasible to support/fund countywide police and fire. Granted there are now service gaps and domestic dispute calls flood and back up 911 response times, but imagine us getting back to a patch work of 11-14 P.D.s, and only the Sheriff's office have county-wide jurisdiction. We are heading that way.

New York State has more than 4,000 local governments, cities, townships, villages, local boards of education, counties, etc... New Jersey is similar. Those are two of the highest taxing states in the country. Only California and Taxachusetts come close.

We have to focus on demanding what we are already paying for and quit viewing local government as a patronage and jobs program, local government should be about services for the taxpayers and citizens of that community...not employing everyone's niece, nephew, uncle or cousin.

DeKalb County has a population of 740,000 residents. As an alternative, DeKalb could consider adding more commissioners to represent the growth in DeKalb population and to provide more representation and local attention. Currently, there are 5 commissioner districts and two at large commissioners. The growth and diversity of the population is one reason that more commissioners are needed to provide greater representation. The city of Atlanta which has a population 450,000, and it has 12 council districts, council president and 3 at large council seats.

It is a shame that when there is a problem with local government we look to change the form of government instead of replacing the person(s) in the position. This is usually an indication that the electorate is very unhappy when they want to abolish the form of government instead of getting rid of the Bum. It is easier to create a city than to remove a corrupt elected official from office.

Self-determination is the right of all mankind and so is the right to vote, however not at the expense of someone else. Who will pay for all these governments? We currently have a federal government, a state government, a county government and most have a homeowners association. Now we are being told we need a city? Why? What happened to freedom? Residents should know all the facts and the truth before a referendum is placed on the ballot. The residents should know who the real winners and losers will be if DeKalb is allowed to fracture into separate parts. Who will really benefit?

Succession and appointments should be outlined and specified in the DeKalb County organization charter and it should be for a brief period of time. The real question does the right of one individual to hold office out weigh the right of citizens to choose who represents them.

The facts about DeKalb, only 37% of the residents currently live in incorporated municipalities, the other 63% live in unincorporated parts of DeKalb. "Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." M.L. King:

The proponents of cityhood want to use our tax money and bond funding to create projects and jobs. They will do this with 30-year bonds which will be tied to property taxes for years to come. All while a few people will become rich and the majority of us will be stuck with the bills. The question we are facing is should the government allocate private funds (property taxes) or should private entities allocate capital for public or private investment?

What services should the government provide or privatize? Will the cost and efficiency be better as a city or County if we look at the economy to size factors? 

4 Basic Questions Residents  Ask

Oppositiion to Greenhaven Meeting Audience Questions

Just Say No to Greenhaven (handout)

DeKalb Pension Information (article)

Greenhaven Cityhood Main Issues (handout)

Stop Shot Gun Cities…/0B6rHTsNOsLE_dlVpVHdSQ1VHUlk/view

Facts about Cityhood and Stop Cityhood…/0B6rHTsNOsLE_OENlWWhiTUI5clU/view

GMANET Georgia Cities Structures

DCA Comparison of Georgia Cities Services

DCA Comparison of Georgia Counties Services

Atlanta Sports City at Stonecrest Impact Study

Atlanta Sports City at Stonecrest Public Information

Future of South DeKalb and Black Belt Economics…/0B6rHTsNOsLE_YnFPeG1QTXVLS3c/view

Sixteen Reasons to Say No Thanks to Cityhood…/0B6rHTsNOsLE_RHM4MlNmNFdvMnM/view

Proponents Large South DeKalb City

Proposed South DeKalb city named Greenhaven 14A

“I do not want to trade our suburban communities for an urban jungle, and I do not want more crime, corruption, and government. I want better leadership and collaboration all over DeKalb – north, central and south” – Ed Williams

What Residents Should Know About the proposed cities of Stonecrest, Greenhaven and South Fulton

Recommended Changes to the Charter and Cityhood Process

Contacts and Legislators Email Addresses

Proposed City Maps

Senate Study Community Report on Incorporation, Annexation, and De-annexation

House Study Community Report on Incorporation, annexation and De-annexation

City Charters, Feasibility Studies and Other Related Documents

Upcoming Meetings

Pension Documents and Facts

Documents to Pass Out and Circulate to Residents

Mission Statement

Questions to Ask Supporters of Cityhood

DeKalb County Economic Plan 2020

Ed Williams. Chair
Concerned Citizens For Effective Government
Citizens Against Cityhood in DeKalb