WABE: Legislation that would allow residents to create two new cities in DeKalb County is a step closer to a vote by the Georgia House, but border disputes remain unresolved.
A House committee Wednesday approved bills that could pave the way for the new cites of LaVista Hills and Tucker in central DeKalb. Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Dunwoody, is the sponsor of the LaVista Hills bill and says residents want a more efficient and responsive government. [MORE INFO]
MANA: The meeting was held on March 2 at the North Decatur United Methodist Church to share information about Phase II of Fuqua's proposed development. Phase I has been approved and Fuqua expects demolition of the old Scott Bldvd Baptist Church and houses on Barton Way to begin shortly.
Details on Phase I, approved in April 2014, are available here. Phase II plans had been vague because there was no certainty about Fuqua's ability to purchase homes on Blackmon and extend the development; those plans had included owner-occupied town homes as a buffer between the new development and existing Blackmon homes. [MORE INFO]
From Mary Margaret Oliver's newsletter today -
ANNEXATION AND CITYHOOD SPECIAL REPORT
Many of you are closely following all the cityhood and annexation activities in DeKalb County, and there has been movement and accelerating confusion in the last week. See Mark Niese's AJC story of March 5th,ilink here. House bills to create new cities of Tucker, LaVista Hills, South Fulton, have been introduced, and passed in less than 48 hours out of subcommittee and full committee of Governmental Affairs. All three proposed cities have border disputes with adjoining cities or proposed annexations by the City of Atlanta. Passage violated the Governmental Affairs Committee rules just adopted at the beginning of this Session that allegedly denied a city the right to move forward as long as border disputes existed. I made formal objections to passage based on rule violations, to no avail. Oh well.
I anticipate, however, that the City of Atlanta will offer a specific map for voters in the 82nd House District to have a referendum on whether they wish to be included in the City of Atlanta in 2015, and that the proposed new cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker may also pass the Legislature this year. Border disputes must and will be resolved, but I do not know how or when, or how these resolutions may impact Decatur's decision on annexation of a limited area of commercial and residential areas.
Our process on these important issues of cityhood is not clear, and the issues are very contentious. I hope to report in the last days of the 2015 Session on decisions made with greater transparency and clarity that will help you know your referendum options.
Thank you for your patience. I am hoping for a higher degree of patience myself. Whatever happens, please remember that ultimate decisions on cities or annexations will be made by the voters by referendum.
THANK YOU! I am interested in your advice and comments.
AJC: Measures to create the cities of LaVista Hills, South Fulton and Tucker sailed through a committee Wednesday, setting up a vote before the full House of Representatives possibly next week. [READ MORE]
Three bills have been introduced in the State Senate that address Blueprint DeKalb's positions on Audit, Ethics and Procurement -- SB 120, SB 118 and SB 121 respectively.
PLEASE GET BEHIND THESE BILLS and PUSH - Please copy the email message below (filling in the blanks) and paste it into the blank but pre-addressed email (Senate SLOGO committee & House DeKalb delegation) that opens when you CLICK HERE.
Suggested Subject line: Reform Ethics, Audit and Procurement in DeKalb Now!
My name is ________________________________.
My zip code is: ____________.
Residents of DeKalb County and the Atlanta metropolitan region recognize that DeKalb County government needs reform now. I support the amendments to the DeKalb Organizational Act recommended by the Operations Task Force, the Blueprint to Redefine DeKalb and other citizen led organizations.
I urge you to support the following:
1. Senate Bill 121 - Amend the DeKalb County Organizational Act in the 2015 legislative session to establish and provide mandatory funding for an Office of Independent Internal Audit. Establish an oversight committee of qualified DeKalb County citizens to select the Auditor. Audits and related reports shall be publicly published and presented at regularly scheduled meetings to the CEO, Board of Commissioners (BOC), and oversight committee. Other recommendations by the Operations Task Force should be considered as well.
2. Senate Bill 118 - Amend the DeKalb County Organizational Act in the 2015 legislative session to mandate reforms to the Code of Ethics. Require that members of the Board of Ethics be selected by an independent, impartial commission, that there be mandatory funding, expand the list of persons under the jurisdiction of the Board of Ethics and enact other recommendations of the Operations Task Force.
3. Senate Bill 120 - Amend the DeKalb County Organizational Act in the 2015 legislative session to revise the current county Procurement Policy. The Organizational Act shall set spending authority limits, prohibit contract-splitting, and enact other details for a purchasing policy as recommended by the Operations Task Force.
4. Establish and fund a Charter Review Commission comprised of qualified citizens from across the county of which at least half of the voting members will not be elected officials. The Commission shall be tasked with reviewing the entire DeKalb Organizational Act and recommending reforms and revisions, paying particular attention to issues the Operations Task Force raised, including those for which no recommendations were developed. The DeKalb legislative delegation will be expected to support the final Commission recommendations without amendment.
We are sending this appeal a second time because we believe this is a crucial time in the 2015 Georgia legislative session. The CHCA Board has been watching developments related to annexation and the possible creation of new cities and staying in touch with our area's representatives about the status of various proposals. The CHCA Board urges you to make your opinion known to our legislators.
In our September community survey (results available here), Clairmont Heights residents expressed a strong desire to join an existing city. Consistent with this result, we supported neighborhood efforts to join either the City of Decatur or the City of Atlanta. Following the advice of our area's legislators, a neighborhood group made a good faith effort to ask Decatur to consider adding us to their annexation map. Although the City of Decatur refused to consider annexing residential neighborhoods, the proposed map for an Atlanta annexation does include Clairmont Heights. The Atlanta option offers continued access to both Fernbank Elementary and Druid Hills High School, so the Board has worked to safeguard our access to these facilities because residents placed great importance on school concerns in the survey. We recently sent two different statements to our legislators as we worked to retain our neighborhood's position at the table during this legislative discussion:
--The Board previously asked our representatives to oppose Decatur's unreasonable annexation plan. (Review this statement here.)
--The Board recently called for our legislators to keep us as part of an Atlanta annexation and and retain access to our schools. (Read here.)
YOUR voice is urgently needed at this point. In particular, think about and comment on two important aspects of the annexation debate: (1) Decatur should NOT be allowed to annex almost ALL commercial areas adjacent to us and AVOID providing services to homeowners nearby. (2) Our representatives should SUPPORT and RESPECT our desire to remain on an Atlanta annexation bill that keeps us with our schools.
The CHCA Board recommends that you voice your opposition to Decatur's Master Annexation Plan because it grabs revenue from our kids' schools without taking our kids.
The last week has brought rumors of changing maps for this area, so the Board also suggests that you call upon our legislators to keep Clairmont Heights as part of the Atlanta annexation map. We deserve a voice and a vote about any annexation bill that affects our access to either Druid Hills High School or Fernbank Elementary. We have been members and strong supporters of these schools since our neighborhood - and Fernbank itself - were built. Any proposal that severs that relationship should NOT move forward.
Since completing our community survey back in September, 2014, the CHCA Board has worked diligently to keep our representatives informed about your wishes. Your personal emails and phone calls will create a stronger impression. The best time to do this is right now. See the full story for legislative contact information.
A city-creation bill (Lavista Hills) must be introduced by the legislative "Crossover" day - March 13, 2015 - while an Atlanta or Decatur annexation bill has a slightly later deadline, so this is truly an urgent issue.
Please contact our areas representatives by email or phone:
We recommend sending your email to the remaining members of the DeKalb delegation:
Stacey Abrams email@example.com
Karen Bennett firstname.lastname@example.org
Dee Dawkins-Haigler email@example.com
Karla Drenner firstname.lastname@example.org
Michele Henson email@example.com
Scott Holcomb firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Jacobs email@example.com
Darshun Kendrick firstname.lastname@example.org
Billy Mitchell email@example.com
Howard Mosby firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Margret Oliver email@example.com
Tonia Peterson-Anderson firstname.lastname@example.org
Pamela Stephenson email@example.com
Tom Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org
Ernest Williams email@example.com
Gloria Butler firstname.lastname@example.org
Gail Davenport email@example.com
Steve Henson firstname.lastname@example.org
Emanuel Jones email@example.com
Fran Millar firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronald Ramsey email@example.com
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The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS, http://http://www.sacs.org/ ), the organization that accredits the DeKalb County School District, has upgraded the district’s accreditation status from “Accredited Warned” to “Accredited on Advisement,” one notch from unconditional accreditation.
The full text of the press release can be found in the attached file.
February 24, 2015
To our elected representatives in the Georgia legislature,
The Board of the Clairmont Heights Civic Association (CHCA) supports our inclusion in the bill authorizing a referendum to annex into the City of Atlanta. Our neighborhood survey from September, 2014, which had a very high participation rate, indicates that our residents favor inclusion in an existing city versus a new one. Our residents feel strongly about retaining access to our elementary school and deserve a voice and vote on this important matter.
You may find our survey results at http://clairmontheights.org/node/4208 .
In addition, The CHCA Board believes that the proposed annexation map preserves critical local control over the major access points to Clairmont Heights and decisions regarding future area development. Local jurisdiction over entrances to Clairmont Heights is vital to safety, service delivery, zoning and land development, and traffic issues – especially in long-range planning for proposed major mass transit expansion.
Signed by Board members of the Clairmont Heights Civic Association
Michael Dowling, President
Pete Rumsey, Vice President
Julia Byrne, Corresponding Secretary
Nancy Moore, Recording Secretary
Pam Daily, Treasurer
Jim Smith, Planning and Zoning
Super District 6 Commissioner Kathie Gannon:
(events: food drive, plant sale, animal adoptions)
DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon:
To rebuild trust with our citizens, we must reform DeKalb County government. There have been several citizen led organizations that have spent the past year developing meaningful reforms. These issues are now coming before the General Assembly and your voice must be heard.
Regardless of whether you are in or out of a city, we all live in DeKalb County. The reforms proposed are essential for rebuilding trust through transparency and accountability. Please email members of the DeKalb Delegation and ask them to reform DeKalb government. Below are the email contacts for the Delegation. Also shown below is a generic letter that you can use. If you want to add a statement about cityhood, annexation or remaining in unincorporated DeKalb feel free to add you views.
Thank you for your commitment to reforming DeKalb!
Kathie Gannon - DeKalb County Board of Commissioners- Super District 6
The teachers, staff, and parents at Fernbank Elementary School extend an invitation to all new and prospective parents to our Fernbank school community to join us at
The revised holiday schedule is:
Monday, Feb. 16 – Presidents Day observed; no sanitation collection services
Tuesday, Feb. 17 – Residential customers whose regularly scheduled solid waste and recycling collection day is Monday, Feb. 16 will be serviced on Tuesday, Feb. 17
Wednesday, Feb. 18 – Residential customers whose regularly scheduled solid waste and recycling collection day is Tuesday, Feb. 17 will be serviced on Wednesday, Feb. 18
Thursday, Feb. 19 – Normal solid waste collection services resume; however, recycling and green cart solid waste customers whose regularly scheduled collection day is Wednesday, Feb. 18 will be serviced on Thursday, Feb. 19
Friday, Feb. 20 – Normal solid waste collection services resume; however, recycling and green cart solid waste customers whose regularly scheduled collection day is Thursday, Feb. 19 will be serviced on Friday, Feb. 20
WABE: The charter cluster petition would have given Druid Hills High School and its feeder schools more autonomy, loosening the grip of the school district. But the DeKalb school board narrowly rejected the proposal just over a year ago. Recently, some petitioners considered annexing to Atlanta, which would make the schools a part of APS. [READ MORE/ FULL ARTICLE]
MANA: Brief notes-- Meeting with Reps. Mayo and Oliver; Representatives of the MANA Working Group on Annexation met with Rep. Rahn Mayo on February 9 at his request.
We again discussed our concerns about Areas A and B in the proposed Decatur annexation. Specifically, we discussed concerns that should parts of our neighborhood and nearby commercial cease to be in the same jurisdiction, residents who will be directly impacted by Decatur's development plans will have no say on how those areas are developed.
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The Clairmont Heights Civic Association Board will hold its February meeting on Wednesday, February 11, 2015, at 6 pm. The location is Melton's. Among other items, the officers will discuss a Board statement regarding the potential legislation related to Atlanta annexation, and we will examine the current status of MARTA's Clifton Corridor Light Rail plan.