Unusually large proposal for a new city in DeKalb County
Why we Oppose Greenhaven: Top 5 reasons
1. Greenhaven will increase our taxes. The call them fees, but it’s still money out of your pocket.
2. Greenhaven will decrease our property values. Wouldn’t you rather keep your address as Decatur, Atlanta, Stone Mountain, etc instead of Greenhaven.
3. Greenhaven will offer the most minimal services. Why change if the majority of services are still with DeKalb
4. The citizens within the proposed Greenhaven boundary were not asked if they wanted to be included in the Greenhaven proposal. Failed politicians launched Greenhaven after not winning to get into politics.
5. Greenhaven feasibility study has fatal flaws. It’s 5 years old and are out of date.
6. Imagine Greenhaven launched a disgraceful campaign creating a false narrative that “your right to vote is being denied”. Too many people suffered and died to obtain voting rights for all. Imagine Greenhaven takes a serious national and important issue of “right to vote” and uses it for their frivolous and self-motivated political gain.
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.
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.
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.
4. The citizens within the proposed Greenhaven boundary were not asked if they wanted to be included in the Greenhaven proposal.
-Kathryn Rice, creator of Greenhaven, Ga, 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. She has 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 was conducted in 2015. It is now 4 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. In addition, Greenhaven has said they would be entitled to DeKalb County’s SPLOST funds for roads. However, DeKalb County Counsel determined that if a city is formed after September 2017, then it is not eligible for those funds.
-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.
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