Does cityhood allow us to escape the problems of DeKalb County government?
No. Even with a city, most of our services will come from the county. These services include schools, sanitation, water and sewer, fire/EMS, libraries, elections, courts, jails, the animal shelter, family and children’s services, and senior affairs. Cityhood does not address our problems in county government. The county will still provide most of our key services.
What does cityhood cost?
The Carl Vinson Institute Study projects that the overhead costs of new city administration will cost around $6.5 million. About 20% of the tax dollars we pay for police, roads, and parks will be siphoned off to pay for redundant politicians and bureaucrats. The cost of government overhead tends to grow. In Brookhaven, the 2019 budget for government overhead has grown from 27% of the total in 2015 to 37% of total budget in 2019. In actual dollars overhead costs have risen from $5.6 million in 2015 to $9.4 million in 2019. The taxpayers cover this cost for an additional layer of government in one form or another.
Will cityhood increase taxes?
Cities charge additional fees, such as franchise fees on utility bills, that residents of unincorporated areas don’t pay. Property tax bills also increase significantly in cities.
Do new cities have lower crime?
No. A 2012 study in Dunwoody found that the small police force there was ‘often overwhelmed’, and that 25% of calls were not getting timely responses. Dunwoody police statistics show that property crimes are up 30% since the first full year of their department in 2010. In 2014, only 10% of burglaries and 14% of motor vehicle thefts were solved.
In addition, City police forces lack many resources, such as helicopters, bomb squads, domestic violence specialists, and K9 units.
Will zoning decisions improve?
It would be nice if a new layer of government could guarantee us that there would never be zoning decisions we don’t like.
Unfortunately, if we look at the experience of other cities, the financial pressures of supporting a new layer government have more often than not encouraged city officials to allow extraordinary increases in density, over the strenuous objections of neighbors. And it’s far worse than reductions in setbacks.
In Brookhaven, the city council unanimously approved a 1.13 million square foot office building/300-unit apartment complex by Montgomery Elementary School, over the objections of the neighborhood: