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DeKalb residents decry recent cityhood efforts
by LaTria Garnigan
February 11, 2014 11:08 AM | 2825 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Since last year, community meeting after meeting has been held to garner support and disseminate information for the proposed cities of Tucker, Lakeside and Briarcliff. The organizing groups have shelled out the $30,000 needed for the feasibility studies and all have pointed to positive results should one gain the support from the general assembly to place a cityhood question on the ballot.

But not everyone in those affected communities is in support of the movement.

The Neighbor spoke with several Lakeside residents who are opposed to cityhood, one in particular who was in favor but changed his tune when the feasibility study was released.

Allan Williamson, a five-year resident, said he initially supported the Lakeside movement — having given money and being supportive of citizens being able to vote on whether or not to become a municipality.

“Now after reviewing all of these [feasibility] studies — I’ve spent many hours on reading all of these so that I feel comfortable giving advice, and there’s no way I can support this,” he said. “There are what I call hidden costs and taxes.”

Williamson is no novice to local politics, as he serves on the Georgia Republican State Committee and has volunteered many hours in educating DeKalb residents on conservative principles of the Republican Party.

He gave four points on why he is against cityhood for Lakeside — hidden costs, a negative impact on public safety, a negative impact on the judicial system and the fact that the proposed cities will not be communities.

“Lakeside and Tucker are both fighting over Northlake Mall,” said Williamson. “So that in itself is causing dissension.”

A resident since 1977, Art Hurt feels the county is doing a good job in providing services. Hurt said that if Lakeside does become a city, it will inspire copycat neighborhoods to do the same.

“What you end up with is a lot of small cities and each one having self-serving and self-interested city councils,” he said. “And these little city councils would have to be considered in certain interests in the county and it would make governing DeKalb County more difficult.”

Hurt said the claims of taxes not increasing with cityhood are simply not true.

“It doesn’t take a genius to figure out taxes will go up and even they didn’t, taxes taken in to the city are denied by the county,” he said. “So you begin weakening your county by taking these taxes. And the county is not flush with revenue as it is.”

Hurt added he is not a fan of the exclusiveness of the proposed cityhood movements.

“I just don’t like this elitist sort of gated community idea of making these little cities … they all talk about how inclusive they are, but I look at the exclusiveness of it,” he said.

Hurt’s neighbor Eva Shaw, who has lived in Lakeside since 1968, agrees there is no real tax base to support the cityhood movements. Shaw said to her the numbers do not work, even with all the proposals including Northlake Mall.

“I don’t think Northlake is making a dollar … it’s been in decline for at least 10 years or more,” she said. “I don’t think they can count Northlake Mall as industry. That’s not going to support a bedroom community.”

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