“It’s an honor to be here today and represent Georgia’s newest city,” said Davis. “As more communities are looking at cityhood, it is an honor for me to be here on the two year anniversary of the day we decided to incorporate.”
At a little more than 50,000 residents, Brookhaven is now DeKalb’s largest city, having surpassed Dunwoody. During his speech, Davis gave a nod to those who supported the cityhood movement, as well as those who were not in favor. He mentioned how since incorporation, those citizens who were against a city of Brookhaven remain faithful “watchdogs,” holding city leaders to a high standard.
“Most of the opposition [to cityhood] was more of fear that we couldn’t make it work — couldn’t afford a police department, taxes would go up … we were called ‘Brokehaven,’” said Davis. “This was all being said just 18 months ago, but we’ve overcome those fears.”
Brookhaven’s property taxes are under the millage cap at 2.79, homeowners pay less in taxes than unincorporated DeKalb, the city had a $1 million surplus in year one, the police department has eight to 10 patrols at all times, the city has sextupled the budget for parks, there will be a basketball league starting in the fall and the city has budgeted for paving 6.5 miles of roadway this year, he said.
In introducing the mayor, District 80 State Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven, said Davis was well-suited for the job because of his compassion and listening skills.
“He listens to people and takes to heart what you’re saying to him … it’s not just me, it’s everybody,” said Jacobs. “And that listening and taking to heart what people are saying has been an absolutely critical skill for leading the city at this point in time.”
Davis said good government communicates and mentioned the city’s Twitter, Facebook and newsletter tools to stay in touch with citizens. He also said the city has launched a new website dedicated to city news at www.brookhavencitylimits.com.
Since incorporation, the city has been on the fast track of repealing and replacing height restrictions on new home construction, beginning work on the first comprehensive plan and focusing on its parks and roadways.