A woman who just won a Lithonia City Council seat may not actually live in the city.
The home of Shameka Reynolds, who was elected to the council on Nov. 8, is just outside the city limits, said outgoing council member Kathleen De Cocq, during a special meeting of Lithonia City Council on Nov. 11.
County tax records list Reynolds’ address, 6801 Magnolia St., as being in an unincorporated area.
“We don’t get no taxes, no nothing from that property,” De Cocq said.
Reynolds, who has lived in the home since 2007, said the Lithonia city line crosses over her property. Property maps show the county line cutting across a small tip of the property.
Her grandmother, Ammer Reynolds, who lived in the home from the 1950s until she died in 2006, paid city taxes on the property, said Reynolds, although neither she nor the city have paperwork to back up her claim.
“She used to go to city hall and pay [the city taxes] every year,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds said that since the city combined its tax bill with DeKalb County in 2005, the property has been listed as being in unincorporated DeKalb County. The property, which is still in the name of her deceased grandmother, is owned by other family members who are in the process of changing the property over to their names, Reynolds said.
“I don’t have anything to do with that,” Reynolds said. “I just live here.” Reynolds said she was unaware of the residency question until comments during the city council’s special election on Nov. 11.
To further complicate matters, Reynolds said her voter registration information lists her in the city of Lithonia, where she votes.
“If I hadn’t run for council, I wouldn’t have known about it,” Reynolds said. “I just make sure the taxes are paid. I don’t look at any of it. I just know you’ve got to pay it.”
Lithonia City Administrator Gerald Sanders said that the city staff is not currently investigating the issue of Reynolds’ residency.
“I have not been given direction to look at it,” Sanders said.
Sanders said he believes that if part of Reynolds’ property is in the city that is enough to qualify her to be a city resident.
De Cocq said the issue needs to be settled for the sake of precedence.
Reynolds “may possibly do a great job,” De Cocq said. “But if she doesn’t live in the city, how are we going to set precedence? How can you stop the next person from doing it?
“It’s very messed up,” De Cocq said.
Reynolds, who spent all day researching the issue, said it is “something the city is going to have to straighten out.
“I’m going to wait and see what the council and mayor are going to do,” Reynolds said.