February 27, 2020
Neighbors Against Greenhaven recently received a message from a Greenhaven proponent asking us why we are against forming a city of nearly 300,000 in south DeKalb. We had answered this before on Why N.A.G. Opposes Greenhaven back in December 2017, however, this is a good opportunity to update and to include how we can improve unincorporated DeKalb moving forward.
Q: Why are you against Greenhaven/forming a city in south DeKalb?
A: There are a number of reasons why people are opposed to Greenhaven. Reasons include:
- Not wanting to be in a city
- Not wanting taxes to increase
- Not wanting an extra layer of bureaucracy
Q: Do you believe your taxes will increase if a city is formed?
- Despite all of the promises that taxes and the millage rate won’t increase if Greenhaven is created, almost every city created in Georgia since 2000 experienced a tax increase.
- Cities of Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Stonecrest, and Tucker had viable commercial properties to help offset residential property taxes. Proposed Greenhaven has no strong commercial base with to offset residential taxes (95% land parcels would be residential). Services not detailed in the feasibility study would require property tax increases to support any new services.
Q: What are your proposals for improving the existing governmental structure?
A: We maintain good relationships with several county commissioners, State Senators, and State Representatives, and we leverage those relationships to improve the lives of our neighbors.
Q: How does remaining unincorporated benefit me?
A: There are many residents in unincorporated DeKalb who love living in an unincorporated area. Many others enjoy not having to worry about holding an extra set of bureaucrats and elected officials accountable for their actions, behaviors, and spending habits.
Q: What are your proposals to bring more economic development to south and central DeKalb?
A: Some of us are already business owners, so we’re already working our own respective business plans. We’re also leveraging our relationships with county and state elected officials to improve the quality of life in our respective communities.
Q: Why should the status quo be maintained for a system where residents have seen a decline in quality of life?
A: Neighbors Against Greenhaven doesn’t advocate for “the status quo”, and we never have. We are just as concerned, if not more so, about the quality of life in our communities as anyone else. We just don’t feel that the solution to the quality of life issue is creating a new city.
Q: How does NAG address the infrastructure issue?
A: Creating a new city doesn’t solve any infrastructure funding issues and is a red herring.
Q: Do you think DeKalb County government is corrupt? How do you propose making DeKalb County government more transparent?
A: Corruption is not limited to DeKalb County. It is not the entity, but the character of those elected who participate in corruption. DeKalb County, like all government entities, has its challenges. You face those challenges by:
- Electing good, upstanding people with integrity to office
- Holding elected officials accountable
- Vote out officeholders who don’t uphold their oath of office
- Serving on county boards and commissions
- Attending officeholders’ town halls and meetings
- Meeting with officeholders to discuss any issues or concerns you may have
- Advocating for a permanent fix to the county ethics board
Notably, Greenhaven proponents have NOT submitted required documentation to the Georgia Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission regarding their collection of donations and have made no public disclosures as to who is backing their cityhood efforts. This creates a lack of trust even before a city is created. What can we expect from them if a city was created?
Q: What does a perfect DeKalb County look like to you?
A: A county that:
- Respects human rights and dignity
- Reflects and promotes the diversity of its citizens
- Is fiscally responsible
- Provides an adequate education for all of its children
- Is run with integrity, accountability, and transparency
- Provides opportunities for economic development
- Takes care of its most vulnerable constituents
- Provides a safe environment to live and do business
Q: Do you believe that residents should be allowed to vote on whether or not they support cityhood?
A: Greenhaven’s “right to vote” is an egregious and frivolous argument that takes away from the very serious voter suppression issue (ie, abuse, restrictions) when it’s clearly about wanting a vote over a special interest topic.
- If Greenhaven proponents seriously wanted to hear from its residents, it wouldn’t start from the top down (i.e., pushing for a referendum down to the ~20-60%* of voters) by appealing to those who: (1) may not be appropriately informed, (2) may be persuaded by the promise of no increase in taxes, and (3) may be swayed by the generally positive language of referendums.
- NAG continues to encounter and engage with citizens who have never heard of Greenhaven and who do not know how they will be fiscally impacted.
- Instead of a “right to vote,” Greenhaven should campaign and advocate for impartial public education awareness meetings. Unlike proponents who just want a vote, NAG advocates for an educated voter.