With Brookhaven soon to become a city, some DeKalb County residents in the Tucker area said although it wouldn’t benefit from incorporation, it might become a Community Improvement District (CID).
President of the Tucker Business Association (TBA) Burke Brennan, who is also a spokesman for DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, said business owners or residents bring up incorporation of the Tucker area occasionally but he hasn’t seen a “ground swell” of support for it yet.
“The business community has not asked for it,” Brennan said.
Incorporated areas in DeKalb County pay more in taxes than unincorporated areas, which may be why those in the business community are hesitant to discuss incorporation.
“Why would any business move into an incorporated area at a higher tax rate than move into unincorporated DeKalb County?” asked Honey Van De Kreke, a member of the TBA board of directors.
Van Der Kreke said several years ago a group of people got together, performed an in-depth cityhood study and came to the conclusion that there wasn’t a large enough commercial tax base “to foot the bill” for a city.
“I’m all about unincorporated DeKalb County,” Van Der Kreke said. “In all of these Tucker cityhood meetings, almost everyone stood up and said they liked the services they’re getting from DeKalb.”
The push for Dunwoody cityhood began in 2006 and it incorporated September 2008. Since then, it has been a model for other growing communities in unincorporated DeKalb with an eye toward cityhood. Residents of the soon-to-be city of Brookhaven will be electing its mayor and city council this November. However, Van Der Kreke said in Brookhaven’s case, there were residents who voted for the area to incorporate. Many businesses were against it, but “businesses can’t vote.”
“If we’re looking at where we’re going for the future and trying to encourage businesses to come into DeKalb County and stay here we need to be working a little harder with the business community,” Van Der Kreke said.
Last year, DeKalb County commissioners voted unanimously to create a CID in the Stone Mountain Industrial Park area. Since it involves taxes, the commission is required to vote on it. However, most CIDs are driven primarily by businesses in the surrounding area.
President of the Stone Mountain CID, Emory Morsberger, said the main purpose of creating the district is to create jobs and boost economic development.
“Anytime you talk about raising anybody’s taxes, people get a little bit wild eyed,” Van Der Kreke said. “But I think a CID would be beneficial and I think it’s probably one of the best vehicles to shape a city’s future.”
Van Der Kreke said although it may take some hard work to get Tucker’s downtown business area established as a CID, it would allow more local control in terms of bringing new business to the area, construction projects and other developments.
“I imagine there’s going to be some people eyeballing what a CID could do for Tucker,” Van Der Kreke said.