A movement to form a new Brookhaven city may be delayed if the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners gets its way.
The board is considering to ask the state legislature to place a moratorium on annexation and incorporation in DeKalb County to allow an analysis by a committee.
Recent incorporations of Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and Milton in Fulton County, and Dunwoody in DeKalb County have occurred without any consideration to the effect on the remaining unincorporated areas of those counties, said Commissioner Jeff Rader, who sponsored the resolution supporting the moratorium.
Often the new incorporations “seem to be formed around a political group” that adds a “tax base that has really nothing to do with their city,” Rader said.
The cities are “not really going at it on their own because they’re relying on a tax base they had no part in creating,” Rader said.
Incorporation needs to be based on some theory of urbanized organization “so we don’t end up with a part of the county that can’t support its basic services,” Rader said.
Rader said he does not necessarily oppose Brookhaven cityhood but “the way it is laid out destabilizes the rest of the county.”
The annexation and incorporation study committee would create standards for evaluating incorporations that include criteria for determining reasonable boundaries for the existing or new cities; an analysis of the tax base within the proposed boundaries of the new city and in the remaining unincorporated areas; an analysis of the impact of widespread annexation or incorporation on the provision of higher level services such as E-911 service, non-basic police services such as aerial support unit, SWAT team, bomb squad unit, intelligence and permits, K-9 division, gang task force, drug task force, and an analysis of alternatives to annexation and incorporation.
The incorporation resolution is one of several resolutions the Board of Commissioners may ask the state legislature to consider in the next session, which starts in January.
Another resolution asks the legislature to create a charter commission to re-examine the form of government.
The “delineation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of DeKalb County government has been an ongoing source of conflict that has impeded the efficiency and effectiveness of the county government,” the resolution states.
DeKalb’s CEO-commission form of government is patterned after the federal government and a strong mayor form of government.
“But it doesn’t have some of the checks and balances that those forms have,” Rader said.
The DeKalb Organizational Act—the state law that directs the county’s form of government—“is not the U. S. Constitution and has quirks and anomalies that cause problems,” Rader said.
Other resolutions considered by the board on Oct. 11 included ones asking for respect by the legislature for the county’s authority to rule itself, a requirement that the county’s CEO establish a codified purchasing policy, representation by a county commissioner on the Atlanta Regional Commission council, a regional transit governance body with local representation, and openness and transparency in the budgets of elected officials and the library system, and lengthening the foreclosure process from the current 30 days to 90 days.