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March 22, 2014

“We are improving everything in our county. … And the most important thing – we are working together.”

Lakeside city dies in 2014 legislative session The Lakeside, Tucker and Briarcliff cityhood proposals died in the 2014 session of the Georgia General Assembly. Backers pushed for legislation allowing the north-central DeKalb neighborhoods to vote this year on whether to create new cities. But state Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta), a member of the DeKalb legislative delegation, tweeted Monday afternoon that House rules prevented a vote on the Scott Holcomb bills before the session ended on March 20. Holcomb tweeted that he had just attended the House Governmental Affairs Committee meeting and that the committee heard from Rep. Mike Jacobs who worked with the Lakeside and Tucker leaders to craft the compromise last week. “He recommended that neither Lakeside nor Tucker move forward this year because

to do so would require changing the rules of the House,” Holcomb said. “Such a change would not have passed the House Rules Committee.” Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) who sponsored SB 270, the Lakeside bill, withdrew the measure Monday even though it had already passed the Senate. The cityhood movement had bogged down in recent weeks over boundary disputes between the proposed cities, though Lakeside and Tucker proponents worked out a compromise last week and updated the agreement over the weekend. The development means that there will not be a referendum in November on the proposed cities of Lakeside, Tucker or Briarcliff. Holcomb said that it is too early to state what may happen going forward but that the process needs to be fair, inclusive, transparent and nonpartisan. “One possibility is that the compromise map agreed to by Lakeside and Tucker could

be considered in the next session,” he said. “In other words, just because there will not be a vote this year does not mean that there will not be one at a later time.” In a March 17 email, Lakeside Alliance Chair Mary Kay Woodworth thanked supporters and expressed “much regret” that the cityhood effort has ended for 2014. “There will be much Mary Woodworth debate as to the reasons behind the withdrawal of SB 270 by Senator Millar, but I can assure you that he was with us the entire way,” she said. “I thank Senator Millar and Representative Taylor for their unwavering support.” Woodworth said that local control is paramount to the desire to create a city. “The actions of many of our elected officials today highlight the need for local control, closer to the people,” she said. “It

is a very sad day for our neighbors and our county, but we will figure out a way to move forward positively and together.” At the start of the legislative session, there were four proposed bills for cityhood, including one for a city of Stonecrest that a Carl Vinson Center study said was not feasible. Interim CEO Lee May pushed for a oneyear moratorium on cityhood initiatives to give DeKalb a chance to assess the impact of incorporation on the county. At a Jan. 27 meeting with the delegation, May called the current process that allows areas to incorporate detrimental to the county on revenues and expenditures. For example, he said Dunwoody and Brookhaven get the bulk of $20 million of the HOST 1 percent sales tax, leaving the county with about $6 million to pay for sidewalks and pothole repairs on county roads. On March 11, May created a 15-member task force to examine all sides of the cityhood issue, even the possibility of dividing the rest of DeKalb into municipalities.

Plantings to provide year-round color along ramps at interchanges GATEWAYS,

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coming into. “We also want our businesses and their customers to be happy about these intersections,” he said. “We want everyone to see that this is a beautiful area and that it is welcoming to everyone who comes in.” DeKalb Commissioner Larry Johnson said the county is beautifying its corridors so that residents can have a community that they all can be proud of. “Appearances do matter,” he said. “Once this is up and running, you will see the beautification of our area. Let’s continue to spread the word that DeKalb County is open for business.” District 4 Commis- Sharon B. Sutton sioner Sharon Barnes Sutton said she is very proud of the way everyone came together to make the project happen. “This is indicative of the progress we are making here in DeKalb County,” she said. “This is just the tip of the iceberg. We are improving everything in our county. We are more efficient. We are more effective, and the most important thing – we are working together.” Barnes Sutton said they started at the top

“I just can’t wait to see the flowers come up,” she said. The Wesley Chapel/I-20 interchange is not among the seven being done by the county. RaceTrac, which is building a gas station at the corner of Wesley Chapel Road and Snapfinger Woods Drive, has committed to landscape and maintain portions of that ramp for two years. May first announced the beautification program in November as a $2.6 million project, but when the budget was approved, the allocation was $1.2 million. He said that the Stone Mountain CID will assume responsibilities for the Mountain Industrial/U.S. 78 interchange in two years. At that time also, the county hopes to hand off the maintenance of interchanges in South DeKalb to the proposed East Metro CID. Fisher said the four ramps at Turner Hill Road will get 250 crape myrtles, 110 junipers, 6,200 day lilies, 540 lantanas, 101 Muscogee trees, and a dozen cryptomeria. “We are making sure that we have color The four ramps at the Turner Hill Road and I-20 interchange (above) will be extensively all year long,” said Fisher, whose 12-year-old landscaped. Work on the project is expected to start on March 25 and be completed by June 1. company has done work at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and Community We are all in sync.” with county policies that set the tone. Center and a number of DeKalb County She said she is proud of the beautification parks. “Our budget reflects our policies and then our administration carries them out,” program and how Stonecrest and the other “When something goes dormant, someshe said. “There isn’t that conflict anymore. interchanges are going to look. thing else pops out.”

Profile for CrossRoadsNews, Inc.

CrossRoadsNews, March 22, 2014  

CrossRoadsNews, March 22, 2014