Emory University Pursuing Atlanta Annexation
“Emory already promotes its location as Atlanta, is known internationally as being located in Atlanta, and has an Atlanta address and zip code,” the university said in a press release.
“The prestige of Emory as an international university and Atlanta as a global city are inextricably linked,” the university said.
The University is pursuing annexation via the petition method, which does not require an act of the Legislature or approval by voters in a referendum. They are in the very early stage of a long process.
“Mayor [Kasim] Reed welcomes all communities who choose annexation into the City of Atlanta,” the City of Atlanta said in a statement.
“If successful, the annexation of this vital corridor would present the rare opportunity to bring a world-class teaching and research institution, strong neighborhoods, hundreds of thriving commercial and industrial businesses, and the leading national public health institute of the United States into the City of Atlanta,” the statement said.
The real concern and fear is that Emory’s annexation may influence other adjoining neighborhood to annex into Atlanta.
“We are hoping it does not spread and people in the surrounding neighborhoods will recognize the positive trajectory that DeKalb County has now and will not choose to annex into a higher tax jurisdiction. The tax impact could be quite profound for seniors,” Marjorie Hall Snook of DeKalb Strong told Atlanta Progressive News.
In unincorporated DeKalb County, seniors get a total exemption on school taxes, which they do not get in the City of Atlanta.
“I really wish Emory had paid more attention to the implications of their actions, but it seems they are very narrowly focused on the access to funds for light rail, and I feel it is short sighted,” Snook said.
A Clifton Corridor MARTA rail line, which would connect the Lindbergh and Avondale MARTA rail station by running through the Emory campus, has been considered for years.
Earlier this year, the Georgia Legislature allowed the City of Atlanta to pursue a referendum on MARTA projects within the City limits – if Emory were to become part of Atlanta, then funds that are restricted to use within the City of Atlanta could be used for the Clifton Corridor line.
While there is concern about a domino effect on residential neighborhoods, Emory joining the City of Atlanta will have little to no harm on DeKalb County budgets.
“From a pure tax perspective, they [Emory] require a lot more in infrastructure spending than they pay in taxes. The impact on the tax base of the annexation is not that bad,” Snook said.