Why N.A.G. Opposes Greenhaven

Neighbors Against Greenhaven
Unusually large proposal for a new city in DeKalb County

Why we Oppose Greenhaven: Top 5 reasons

1. Greenhaven will increase our taxes. 

2. Greenhaven will decrease our property values. 

3. Greenhaven will offer the most minimal services. 

4. The citizens within the proposed Greenhaven boundary were not asked if they wanted to be
included in the Greenhaven proposal.

5. Greenhaven’s feasibility study has fatal flaws.

Greenhaven: Who is Behind the Effort? Republicans Rep Ed Rynders and Kathryn Rice


1. Greenhaven will increase our taxes.
-Greenhaven’s revenue will come from a combination of franchise fees, business taxes, property taxes, and a possible sales tax increase. As history has shown, businesses – including the utilities, typically pass their taxes and fee obligations onto the consumer. Therefore the citizens of the proposed area will most likely face two tax increases: one on individual property taxes and a second from taxes and fees that businesses and utilities will pass on to their customers in the form of surcharges or higher prices/fees. Despite these extra fees and increased taxes, the new city will provide minimal, if any, additional services over what the county currently provides.

Neighbors Against Greenhaven Lobbyist Report Kathryn Rice Ed Rynders Rep Billy Mitchell Bee Nguyen Howard Mosby
2. Greenhaven will decrease our property values.

-Greenhaven organizers agree that property values within the Greenhaven boundaries will decrease. While they “hope” that the values will increase “over time,” there is no guarantee that property values will rebound or how long this stabilization might take.

 

-Greenhaven proponents look to the successes or other new cities in the metro area for indicators of similar success. However, Greenhaven is not comparable to new cities such as Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, or Tucker. These cities were defined communities with thriving commercial bases before cityhood. Greenhaven is a large area of land that has no centralized commercial base. Greenhaven also comprises very diverse, segmented communities and would become the second largest city in the state of Georgia. Greenhaven will have a land area and population that is far greater than Brookhaven, but it will have a mere fraction of the commercial revenue that Brookhaven has. Therefore, predicting success based on prior incorporations cannot be used as an indicator for when, or even if, Greenhaven will be able to achieve property value increases to combat the acknowledged likely decreases in value that will occur.

 

-A decrease in property values directly affects the revenue that Greenhaven will collect. As property values decrease, property taxes will also decrease, creating more of a budget deficit and potentially causing further tax increases.

Check out Neighbors Against Greenhaven on Facebook

Neighbors Against Greenhaven Lobbyist Report Kathryn Rice Ed Rynders Rep Billy Mitchell
3. Greenhaven will offer the most minimal services.

-Greenhaven will only offer three services: Parks and Recreation, Zoning, and Code Enforcement. DeKalb County will continue to provide the remaining services which include, but are not limited to: Fire Rescue, Police and Sheriff services, Roads & Drainage, Watershed Management (which comprises water and sewage services), 911 service, health and welfare services such as Senior Services and 311, court and judicial services, Animal Control, libraries, tax assessment, and schools.

 

-Given the costs associated with obtaining the tools and equipment needed to maintain parks, Greenhaven will be forced to hire a third party to maintain the parks. Cost estimates were provided based on other recently incorporated cities, but would not be known until after a bidding process for these services.

 

-Road maintenance responsibilities may also transfer to Greenhaven. The expenses associated with road maintenance were not addressed in the feasibility study.

 

 

East Atlanta and Gresham Meeting Opposing Greenhaven Neighbors Against Greenhaven
East Atlanta and Gresham Meeting Opposing Greenhaven

4. The citizens within the proposed Greenhaven boundary were not asked if they wanted to be
included in the Greenhaven proposal.

-The creators of Greenhaven proposed boundaries without conducting a systematic survey of the residents and businesses included in the proposed area in order to push a bill through the state legislature. They have not been open to feedback on the boundaries voiced by residents and business owners within the proposed city.
5. Greenhaven’s feasibility study has fatal flaws.

-The current feasibility study is, as of February 2018, three years old.

 

-The proposed legal budget is less than $250,000 with a risk management budget of $175,000 (to cover insurance premiums only). This amount is expected to pay for all of Greenhaven’s legal needs for an entire year, including salaries for a City Attorney and staff plus any liabilities. Greenhaven, the proposed second largest city in the state of Georgia, has only budgeted for one attorney. By comparison, the City of Atlanta, the largest City in the state of Georgia, has a legal team comprised of 43 attorneys. The current cap for lawsuits involving the negligent operation of a municipal vehicle in Georgia is $500,000. Just one lawsuit could completely wipe out Greenhaven’s budget for legal services and would dramatically increase the needed future budget for risk management.

 

-If Greenhaven is required to take on road maintenance, the legal budget and risk management budget will need to increase dramatically.

 

-The budget does not contemplate legal expenses for collecting franchise fees or auditing utilities to ensure that franchise fees are paid properly.

 

-Without properly evaluating and planning for legal risks, Greenhaven will quickly run through any surplus revenue that it may have and turn to other sources of revenue such as increased taxes to cover the difference.

 

Greenhaven Lobbyist paid for by CH2MHill?

To continue the conversation Go to our Facebook Page Neighbors Against GreenhavenGreenhaven logo

Neighbors Against Greenhaven Opposes Cityhood in South DeKalb
Neighbors Against Greenhaven Opposes Cityhood in South DeKalb

 

36 comments

  1. I don’t know a lot about it, but at my present level of understanding, I oppose the “Greenhaven” city effort. I do not Facebook or Twitter or use any other social media (sorry, I have managed to avoid it so far and have no inclination to be social now). This said, how can I stay in touch on this topic?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I dp not facebook nor twitter. I would appreciate it I can be informed by email on this important issue, meeting dates, places and times and all important issues concerning my community. I oppose Greenhaven for all the above reasons and more. Thank you for all future correspondences.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sean Jenkins, former member of pro Greenhaven. I have seen the light and Kathryn Rice has lied to me for the last damn time. I’m switching over and want to help defeat this stupid idea in which she promised me a major job if I supported her. Also, ask why did she leave Pittsburgh Community Improvement Association, Inc. or did she leave on her own volition? Hmmm

    Thanks for publishing these truths on this website and warning people of South Dekalb how Kathryn Rice is a liar about how the economic development and jobs needed to progressively transform our communities won’t be produced by her lies.

    1. Your property taxes will not be increased, but they will nickle and dime you on other taxes. They’ll put $10 on cable, $5 on phone, $6 electric bill, $7 on gas bill EVERY SINGLE MONTH!

    2. Your property value will decrease because no one will want to do business with a city called Greenhaven that is run by corrupt people like Kathryn Rice.

    3. Through cityhood, South Dekalb residents are being lied to about having better options in selecting better utility, cable, and internet services at much lower rates.

    4. Decreased economic development and job creation will be the key focus of every elected official within the City of Greenhaven.

    5. The infrastructure of our communities will not get the attention it deserves.

    Support Neighbors Against Greenhaven and join our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1322425114450355/

    Like

  4. Imagine Greenhaven…It will be a terrible terrible thing. It will destroy South DeKalb. Greenhaven has paid at least $20,000+ for the very expensive Hall Booth Smith law firm. Were these Lobbyist paid for by CH2M Hill? Greenhaven, who hasn’t hadn’t fundraisers will not disclose where those funds came from. Hall Booth Smith is one of the most prestigious lobbyist law firms in Atlanta and the Southeast. They do not come cheap. In fact their fees can run into the $100,000’s. Check us out on Facebook
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1322425114450355/

    Like

  5. I appreciate the views expressed in the post. Has anyone scheduled a meeting or attempted to reach out to the various groups in support of the City of Greenhaven? I wonder if any of the top 5 reasons against have been addressed or can be negotiated.

    Like

  6. They have met with Greenhaven multiple times over the last 4 years. Repeat multiple times. Kathryn Rice refuses to remove our area and the others that overwhelmingly against it. Why because it wouldn’t be viable without it.
    How did we become part of a plan to become a new city? Kathryn Rice never asked us if we wanted to be a part of it.
    Hopefully that answers your question. We are tired of fighting against something we never asked for.

    Like

    • One more question. I do not know the exact area(s) within the Greenhaven plan being referred to, but how are we quantifying “overwhelmingly”? The only quantifying information I found online was a survey of 135 people conducted by Concerned Citizens Against Greenhaven in which 63% were against the plan. With ~300K citizens within the proposed area; i am not certain that 88 is overwhelming, although the percentage is high. Please keep in mind that I am in the early stages of the research and gathering as much information as possible. Thanks.

      Survey link:
      https://neighborsagainstgreenhaven.com/2018/01/16/survey-on-greenhaven/

      Like

  7. Appreciate you researching but been at this for awhile. Been to meetings all over central and West DeKalb. Gresham Park/Heights has had multiple meetings and at everyone both black and white are against. East Atlanta, Belvedere Park, Meadowbrook Acres been to all of those meetings. Check out https://m.facebook.com/groups/1322425114450355/
    Neighbors Against Greenhaven Facebook page. It has 1000 members. As long as Greenhaven has been around it has like 200.
    Post on there if you want more folks to respond.
    A lot of folks in East Lake and East Atlanta are annexing to get away from the possibility of Greenhaven into Atlanta. Folks are willing to pay more taxes to keep from being a part of Greenhaven, that should tell you something.

    Like

    • Thanks. I joined earlier this morning and am going through the posts.

      To be clear, I am performing a SWOT analysis on Greenhaven and cityhood in general. I am a longtime resident of South Dekalb (Snapfinger, Columbia HS, etc.) and Lithonia. My official position is that the status quo has not worked. If there is an alternative, I would like to know more about it. This is why I am investigating both sides of the issue. What I find interesting is that “folks are willing to pay more taxes…”, just not in Greenhaven per Reason #1 of this post. That seems incongruent.

      Unfortunately, my findings so far (for the past 2 months or so) have seemed to be more personal than practical. I do not know any of the “players” or their past performance. I do know something should change in S. Dekalb. The shopping and food choices are sh!t (except the Farmers Market). There’s little, if any, investment in youth activities (except Juvenile), and the community organizations are aging rather than innovating.

      I really want to suggest REAL solutions to the overall S. Dekalb problem/debate. My hope is that a new set of eyes and ideas can begin the dialogue.

      Like

  8. So by doing your SWOT analysis you are already for Greenhaven and looking at Greenhaven’s strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and looking at Neighbors Against Greenhaven as the “Treat” otherwise you’d be doing an empirical analysis of both trying to record of direct observations of both so that you could c analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively, correct.

    Everyone on both sides are looking for a better DeKalb. Neighbors Against Greenhaven, No2Greenhaven, Southeast DeKalb Concerned Citizens, and various other groups feel that Greenhaven would just add another level of incompetence.

    A real solution would be to make DeKalb work efficiently, without graft and attract new business to all areas of the County. Don’t let Kathryn Rice fool you into believe she can do that. She hasn’t done that in her other positions. She hasn’t advocated for DeKalb for the past 20 years and saw an opportunity to exploit the system and enrich herself with a high paying Mayor of Greenhaven position. Look at her resume and tell what she has done of great significance.

    You need to fix what’s wrong with DeKalb from within. No builder, developer or company is going to go to Greenhaven just because of a change of name. In fact, it’ll be the opposition.

    Like

  9. Also, there have been 2,116 people that signed the change.org petition AGAINST GREENHAVEN. https://www.change.org/p/12171892/u/22362013?utm_medium=email&utm_source=petition_update&utm_campaign=249303&sfmc_tk=ps5GCXDfRjED10Fb9BPXtxQUIW1WjsLcax6YrMUNpNuR1ObLRut%2bxcIUjD5oPrwO&j=249303&sfmc_sub=202613108&l=32_HTML&u=45460167&mid=7259882&jb=1

    If you want to join Greenhaven fine! Take all of the areas that don’t want to be a part of out. You could have your vote, no opposition and you are shoe in. You’ll have to raise taxes because you don’t have the base, but we know you want to be fair so you wouldn’t mind taking us out, would you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I sincerely apologize if any of my statements were misunderstood.

      “My official position is that the status quo has not worked.”

      Greenhaven is an alternative to the status quo; I am performing a SWOT analysis on this as an option. I appreciate the dialogue and began my inquiry on the subject asking about prior communications between the groups.

      To qualify my research so far:

      * Read the Greenhaven Feasibility Study (2015)
      * Read HB644 (78 pages)
      * Read HB961 (2 pages)
      * Read the Dekalb Thrives Economic Development and Strategic Plan Recommendations (2016)
      * Read the Dekalb County Strategic Recommendations (2014)
      * Review of the Imagine Greenhaven Strategic Plan (2018)
      * Read multiple articles for, and against, Greenhaven
      * Joined 2 FB groups against Greenhaven as well as Believe in South Dekalb
      * Read countless opinions on the topic in Crossroads, NextDoor, AJC, FB, this site, etc.

      I trust the aforementioned list serves as some consolation that I am analyzing both sides of the issue and, honestly, I am spending more time on the position against to determine the resistance to change.

      I love R&D and am fully capable of discernment; I respectfully ask to be evaluated on my own merit and dialogue. I am confident that it is not a difficult ask to not be associated, correlated, or otherwise lumped together with any person(s). I am not certain what statement(s) made thus far have created such adversarial responses. I have the same overarching goals as Imagine Greenhaven, N.A.G., No2Greenhaven, Southeast DeKalb Concerned Citizens, Believe in South Dekalb, and any organization I may not be unaware of. I am definitely late to the party, but I want a better South Dekalb community with more opportunities than have been afforded in my 30+ years here. My questions/statements are neither political or personal; I am soliciting feedback for a constructive dialogue. I hope this clears up any assumptions.

      Like

      • You’ve done quite a bit of research, but it’s like reading a recipe or learning how to box. Until you actually get in the kitchen or the boxing ring, it’s just an academic exercise.

        To get DeKalb back on the right track requires voting for the right candidate(s) and demanding they make verifiable change. DeKalb Strong and Reform DeKalb are two more Facebook pages you should check out. Individuals from all of the groups mentioned have been working for years to improve DeKalb.

        You’ve been here for 30 years and glad you are now stepping up to the plate to make DeKalb better, what have you done in those 30 years to improve DeKalb? Greenhaven only takes control of a 3 services so even with it you need to improve DeKalb.

        From now through January, attend Board of Commissioner meetings, talk to people on all of the various pages. Join your neighborhood association. Volunteer for a nonprofit working in your area. Call police when you see crime. Report to Code Enforcement when you see an abandoned building or grass 3’ high.

        The people posting on those sites do all of the above. You’ll run into them time and again. We need people who’ve sat on the sideline for years to come out and step up, regardless of their position on Greenhaven.

        Like

      • Thank you for the suggestions.

        May I also respectfully ask to not assume anything about my community involvement?

        I have a non-profit which focuses on youth development in multiple communities in the Atlanta Metro area as well as Houston Metro, DFW, and Raleigh, NC. As a product of the Dekalb County public schools system, one of our primary goals is to synchronize “the whole” development of youth in the community without requiring charters, voucher systems, and/or private schools. My employees and volunteers (me included) are hardly on the sidelines…but, maybe a request for merit-based dialogue is difficult for such a hot-button topic.

        We are shifting our focus to the self-determination of minority communities; I hope that the action plan derived from our research is something that can benefit the whole of South Dekalb.

        Like

    • Decatur have u noticed how this possum dude is so thin skinned. He done spent more time pretending like he so offended. Why don’t he spell out who his non profit is.

      Like

      • LOL…not offended at all. The attempt is to investigate resolutions for South Dekalb. A full review of the thread would show that I have asked to be taken for face value and not associated with any one idea, person, or organization.

        The non-profit is STEPPS Holdings, Inc.

        What does the group think about this statement on Dekalb County politics: The voting power is in South Dekalb, but the legislative power is in the north?

        Like

  10. Your statement is factually incorrect. The way the DeKalb Board of Commissioner districts are set up the legislative power is actually in South DeKalb. The have had a hold on the 7 County Commissioners for decades now with a 4 to 3 advantage.

    The whole North vs. South makes it more of a racial issue as though are potent words. It’s divisive and brings out the crazies (sound familiar?), on both sides.

    Plus the biggest factor is that there is a huge portion that’s included in Greenhaven that doesn’t consider itself South DeKalb. Pine Lake, Belvedere Park, Stone Mountain, East Atlanta, East Lake, Gresham Park, Candler McAfee, Dial Heights, etc.
    These areas are starting to thrive. Decatur 30032 has the 2nd highest number of homes flipped in Metro Atlanta. Price appreciation is accelerating and retail, hopefully, will soon follow. Same with zip code 30316. The reason some are wanting to annex is that associating with Greenhaven will negatively connate them with an area that isn’t doing well. Some classism in there, maybe.

    If you could take those areas out, I give Greenhaven a 50/50 chance of winning. The problem and the reason why Kathryn Rice won’t is because they would have to increase property taxes even more. Currently, she would use franchise fees from utility and cable companies. It’s a sneaky way of “not increasing taxes” but get citizens get hit with all kinds of fees.

    The groups that have fought against the City of Greenhaven, have been researching and fighting Greenhaven Now and Kathryn Rice for 4 years now. Their well-researched position will not budge.

    Like

  11. Also, the false statement Kathryn Rice is making about voter suppression is offensive. How can you tell a person to be included in something they never asked for or want. N.A.G. and the other groups don’t want it to come to a vote because if a miniscule group of people can get something on the ballot that only they want we don’t trust the system to put a fair question on the ballot. Read these two articles about two Republicans that are not part of DeKalb and have openly denigrated it and wished for it’s demise are “helping” S. DeKalb with Greenhaven.
    https://neighborsagainstgreenhaven.com/2018/02/15/greenhaven-who-is-behind-the-effort-republicans-rep-ed-rynders-and-kathryn-rice/

    https://neighborsagainstgreenhaven.com/2018/03/26/josh-mckoon-supports-greenhaven/

    Josh McKoon was behind the voter ID bill which is actual voter suppression and it’s main intent was to lower the number of minority voters. This guy wants to help DeKalb? Your a smart man and I know you must know better.

    Like

  12. Thanks for the feedback.

    I’m a longtime 30032 resident (1975-1987, 2010-present…renting in between), and i see the dog walkers and speculators everyday. however, i also see an aging, retirement community being priced out. idk what dr. rice’s “personal” intentions are and frankly do not care. what i do care about is community improvement and im not interested in waiting for Decatur to become Candler Park, East Lake, Edgewood, et al. for it to happen. That’s a continuation of the existing suburban policy and not cool at all.

    Like

    • I find that not to be true at all that “aging, retirement community” is being priced out. Also, they are the most political active and highest percent of voters. 95% of the time when a home does come up for sale the parent(s) have passed on and the heirs don’t want to live in that part of Decatur and don’t realize the value of that property and sell it cheap. Most have moved to Gwinnett, Lithonia, Marietta, etc. and can’t believe people are willing to pay those prices for those homes without a 2-car garage and a master suite. These heirs could benefit from the increased price in the sale of the home.
      Seniors 65 and over pay a much reduced rate because they don’t have to pay the school tax which is the largest portion of the tax bill. We’ve seen taxes under $750/year. The common misconception that the homeowners are being priced out is not true, especially in this portion of Decatur. Those most affected are renters. Those are the ones displaced with rising rents. Most homeowners have their homes paid off if they didn’t get one of those predatory home equity loans.
      I think an organization such as yours can help by better education and thus higher incomes so they have more choices. It would be great if they were part of the equation of real estate because that is the greater predictor of generational wealth.
      Wouldn’t it be great if Decatur became like Candler Park and East Lake with much of the current population? It requires a progressive mindset. A lot of the new residents are middle class African Americans, who have tired of living in the suburbs and moving back in. Most of them are millenial newcomers that moved here from the North and West.

      Like

  13. BTW, I didn’t make a statement, I asked a question. Please read more carefully, folks. I’m purposely choosing my words…it’s not that hard if read without a response in mind.

    Like

  14. There’s a lot of laws being broken on this site. In due time, NAG (Neighbors Against Greenhaven) will no longer be a place to post pure propaganda, and defaming individuals through continuous lies.

    Be prepared to face the consequences real soon. 😉

    Like

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