City of Lakeside Proposal Passes State Senate Committee

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(APN) ATLANTA — The proposed City of Lakeside will have its day on the State Senate floor, thanks to State Sen. Fran Millar, (R-Dunwoody), who sponsored Senate Bill 270 to create the City of Lakeside.

 

The boundary fights between Briarcliff, Lakeside, and Tucker have made this race to the finish noteworthy, with over 100,000 voters affected by the new proposal.

 

A placeholder bill by State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, HB 665, that laid the groundwork for a possible creation of a new city, Briarcliff, has not even been assigned to Committee.

 

“Though I favor local control, the move to carve tax revenue rich neighborhoods into new cities, such as the proposed ‘Lakeside,’ is little more than a selfish move by greedy individuals foolishly choosing further divisions within DeKalb, which if adopted will lead to inequities causing suffering and despair for many,” Al Herman, a resident of an area in unincorporated DeKalb County that may become part of Lakeside, told Atlanta Progressive News.

Herman has been a staunch believer in supporting DeKalb county.  To his knowledge, he has never been surveyed for his opinion on the Lakeside proposal until contacted by Atlanta Progressive News.  Herman has lived in a part of unincorporated DeKalb County, commonly referred to as unincorporated Decatur, for ten years.

Leigh Ann Ledbetter, who lives just three miles southeast of Herman, agrees.  “I’ve been working with DeKalb County for a few years to equalize my property tax burden.  I have been successful; I am not confident that I won’t see my taxes increase if Lakeside becomes a city.”

Ledbetter claims she too has not been contacted by the Lakeside effort.

Members of the Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee voted four to three, to approve the Lakeside bill under a new map that again adds neighborhoods outside of I-285 to the city, including the voting precincts of Livsey and Midvale elementary schools, which are part of Millar’s Senate district.

Seeing an obvious quid pro quo on this proposal, Tucker 2014 has spoken out against Senator Fran Millar and the Lakeside effort.

“Sen. Fran Millar and the Lakeside leadership have stated they’ve held negotiations with Tucker 2014 and falsely accused Tucker of not compromising.  Tucker 2014 can assure you that many conversations were held in an effort to reach a compromise that both cities could agree upon however no agreement was reached,” Tucker 2014 wrote.

In conversations with Sen. Millar he repeatedly confirmed that he believed Livsey, Midvale, and Henderson Park were part of Tucker but he would not support our bill if they were included in the Tucker map.  In negotiations with Sen. Millar he offered nothing more – not one street, not one house to Tucker,” the group wrote.

“You may have even heard something about creating a megacity.  This was never an offer or even a proposal, and it’s certainly not a compromise.  It was an idea suggested privately by politicians.  Both groups were given a very short time to decide, and were told we could not consult with anyone in the community,” the group wrote.

“How could we not consult with the community about such a drastic change – these are permanent decisions that require thorough and thoughtful consideration,” the group wrote.

“Tucker would have to give up its name.  We would have to follow the city model of Lakeside regarding their city services.  Areas of the Tucker map were in danger of being removed – this was not simply a clear combining of the two maps,” the group wrote.

“In that same meeting we learned that Lakeside had polled the citizens in their map and that they do not have the yes votes needed inside the perimeter to pass a referendum.  We learned they are counting on the yes votes outside the perimeter to pass their city.  We would be risking a failed referendum by anchoring our chances to their admitted no votes,” the group wrote.

“We also learned in that meeting that Lakeside was planning to remove a large area of commercial properties roughly from Clairmont Road west for possible annexation into Brookhaven.  Without that significant area of commercial property, the megacity would rely heavily on the Northlake Mall commercial district.  We were concerned not only about the megacity viability but also about the potential impact to residential property taxes,” the group wrote.

“In meeting after meeting with the Tucker community it was made clear that Tucker citizens wanted a city that preserved the long-standing neighborhoods and offered a fiscally-conservative government structure built on the successful services Tucker citizens have been actively engaged in for decades,” the group wrote.

“Without having the benefit of community input, Tucker 2014 would not so drastically alter that path. We worked to stay true to the vision of cityhood that the Tucker community has clearly stated – local control that preserves its active 121 year old history, identity, name, and integrity.”

Apparently, the three-horse race has turned into a boxing match with only one fighter in the ring.

“The bill now heads to the Senate Rules Committee, which will decide whether to allow SB 270 to reach the Senate floor. Approval in the Senate would send the issue to the state House, which has held off on cityhood this year because of the boundary disputes,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper.

(END/2014)

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