Kathy Gannon has a website with a Q&A about cities forming in DeKalb. Read it HERE
The City of Avondale Estates now has a dedicated website for Annexation info. This includes the presentation by former mayor Ed Reiker and the audio recording of the special works session for annexation information held on October 1. The website can be found HERE
It’s fall in Forrest Hills! Mark your calendars for a busy season of neighborhood events. Dates and descriptions below. Since we have limited funding to support printed flyers, the best source for last minute details is the neighborhood listserv and facebook page.
October 12 Knitting Tutorial
October 13 FHNA Neighborhood Meeting
October 17 Flamingo Friday
October 31 Halloween Caravan
November 9 Chili Cook-off
December 6 Holiday Progressive
Knitting Tutorial – Sunday, October 12th at 2PM
Location: In the greenspace – weather permitting
What better way to usher in the fall season that learn how to knit a scarf! Drop by (no pre-registration required) the greenspace – Jessica Parilla will bring knitting needles, yarn and patterns and show you the simple stitches involved in knitting. If you would like to take the knitting needles and yarn home to continue your project, please contact Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org and she can bring items for you to purchase.
Neighborhood-wide Meeting – Monday, October 13th at 7:30 p.m.
Location: Columbia Presbyterian Church sanctuary, enter back door, near parking lot)
We realize this is on Columbus Day but it is the best date to host a meeting as it preceeds many of our most popular fall events. The agenda also includes a discussion about the potential annexation of our neighborhood into Avondale Estates. Members of the neighborhood who support, oppose and remain undecided will share their opinions. The mayor of Avondale Estates will be present to answer questions. For additional info on the proposed annexation please visit: http://forresthillsneighborhood.org/category/avondale-estates-annexation/
Flamingo Friday – October 17th
Monthly, informal parties hosted by neighbors, BYOB and BYOS(nack) to share
Contact Kate Pawlicki (email@example.com or via facebook) if you would like to host our last Flamingo of the season on October 17th.
Halloween Caravan – Friday, October 31
Join the annual neighborhood caravan where families trick-or-treat door-to door en masse. The route is changed annually so we can rotate past different homes each year. If you are on the route -be forewarned- stock up on candy! The caravan continues to grow each year, multiplying the fun for adults and kids alike. The route map will be publicized on facebook and via the listserve.
Halloween Decorating Contest
Bring out the ghosts and goblins for the crowning of our inaugural “best decorated” Halloween house! If you have questions please contact coordinator and Halloween enthusiast, Michael David Ash Sharbough (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chili Cook-off Fundraiser – November 9, 2014
Hosted by Kate and Nate Pawlicki (thank you!) on N. Carter Rd., neighbors cook up their best chili to compete for first prize; through blind taste-testing, attendees vote on the finalist who will be awarded a fantastic prize! This also serves as a neighborhood fundraiser; details on entering the cook-off will be announced on facebook and the listserv.
FHNA Holiday Progressive – December 6th
Jennifer Murkison will return as coordinator for our much loved Holiday Progressive allowing neighbors to socialize and kick the holiday season into full swing with open house style parties. The parties are potluck so hosts are only responsible for opening their doors to guests. We are looking for volunteers to host the appetizer and dessert rounds of the fiesta. Potluck sign-ups for appetizers and desserts will be on google docs and posted online closer to the event. Please contact Jennifer (email@example.com) or Elaina Ouimet (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to host!
Neighbors who are not connected online
The FHNA board is working to identify neighbors who are not connected to the neighborhood via facebook, the listserv or our neighborhood website. We will make a special effort to make sure these neighbors receive printed information about neighborhood issues and events. Unfortunately, due to the cost of printing and mailing flyers (our mailman does not allow us to put them in mailboxes), we cannot do this consistently for the entire neighborhood. If you are someone who is not online, or if you know a neighbor who is not, please contact Josh McDowell at email@example.com
Summary : A BILL to be entitled an Act to incorporate the City of DeKalb in DeKalb County; to provide for a charter for the City of DeKalb; to provide for other matters relative to the foregoing; to provide for a referendum; to provide effective dates and transitional provisions governing the transfer of various functions and responsibilities from DeKalb County to the City of DeKalb; to provide for severability; to provide an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
Bill Can be found in its entirety HERE
My name is Alian Teach, I live in unincorporated DeKalb County in Forrest Hills Decatur. Currently there has been a lot of conversation about Forrest Hills being annexed into Avondale Estates. Some people are telling residents in my neighborhood that if we do not annex into Avondale – we will become part of the city and we will not be able to remain unincorporated. I have attached the document that has been distributed to my neighbors and I’m writing all of you to hopefully find out the facts.
There is currently fear around this issue and the attached document feeds that fear. We created a survey (attached)to find out if our neighborhood wants annexation and we are currently collecting responses. Many residents are leaning towards annexation into Avondale so we will not become part of the City of Dekalb.
Will my neighborhood of unincorporated Dekalb have to become part of a city? Is there the option for us to remain as we are? If we can remaining unincorporated, would the neighborhood lose services?
Is Dekalb County planning on becoming a city now or in the future? If so, and Forrest Hills is not annexed into Avondale, will we have to become part of the city?
If Dekalb becomes a city and our neighborhood becomes a part of it. Will our taxes increase? If so, how much?
Our neighborhood is having a meeting Oct. 13th to discuss annexation and I would like to present facts to the neighborhood so we can made the decision that we feel is best. In this climate it is hard to know what is fact and what is fiction so I would appreciate if I could have something in writing so my neighbors know I’m not presenting biased information.
Thank you, Alian
Thank you for writing Commissioner Gannon regarding the annexation issue as it regards to Forrest
Hills. I’ll do my best to answer your questions. They do not lend themselves to yes or no answers.
Will my neighborhood of unincorporated DeKalb have to become part of a city? Is there the option for us to remain as we are? If we can remaining unincorporated, would the neighborhood lose services?
• New cities are generally formed by the General Assembly, which reviews a study of their financial feasibility as determined by the Carl Vinson Institute. The General Assembly determines the map/boundaries and Charter. The specific municipal services to be provided are also approved. Usually there is some group working with the affected communities to determine what services they want, the level of service and the method to pay for these services. To my knowledge there is no such group that is organized to form such a city for Forrest Hills. After the General Assembly passes and the governor signs a cityhood bill. A referendum is held to allow the people residing in the proposed city the opportunity to vote. This has been the process for Dunwoody and Brookhaven.
• There has been a bill introduced (that did not advance) to form a City of South DeKalb. Until recently there is no planning or organizing taking place regarding this concept. A new group has formed, but is struggling to raise the money to fund the Carl Vinson a study ($35,000). Moreover, a group formed last year around a City of Stonecrest, but it was not financially feasible. A City of DeKalb is unlikely to be financially feasible either. I’m not aware of any political leadership that has taken a position to support this city.
• The County does not know where it is going on cityhood. The state has a short-sighted, insufficient process to form cities. There is no consideration for the unincorporated areas.
• The answer to your first two questions is: it is up to the general Assembly and more specifically the DeKalb Delegation. For the 3rd question, I can’t imagine the General Assembly eliminating services, but costs could rise.
Is DeKalb County planning on becoming a city now or in the future? If so, and Forrest Hills is not
annexed into Avondale, will we have to become part of the city?
• DeKalb County is not making any plans to become a city. However, on a service level we already provide municipal services: police, water and sewer, sanitation, parks, etc.
• Forrest Hills will have a say (a referendum, or a petition of 60% of the registered voters) in whether it becomes annexed into Avondale.
• The city of DeKalb concept has not advanced to the point that I can answer your last question.
If DeKalb becomes a city and our neighborhood becomes a part of it. Will our taxes increase? If so, how much?
• No financial analysis is currently available to answer this question. The Operations Task Force
may conduct some analysis on the impact of forming new cities on unincorporated areas.
Regarding the materials you sent, I would have to say the following passage is an overstatement, speculative and perhaps inflammatory:
“As a result, the County is examining the anticipated loss of revenue due to
annexation/incorporation and evaluating forming a “City of DeKalb” with the remaining unincorporated portions of the County, including FH. This city could ultimately lead to higher taxes and lesser services, prevent future options of annexation into nearby cities, and be run by the same officials currently running the County.
• I don’t know of any “evaluating”. Frankly it would be good to know, but there is no County staff working on this. We do not know the impact of incorporation or cityhood or annexation. As mentioned previously, the Operations Task Force may examine this issue, but no results or conclusions have been drawn. It is easy to predict taxes will rise. It is valuable for citizens to become aware and involved in the annexation and cityhood discussions and to the extent that the above statement motivates people to become involved, it may serve a purpose.
• Most of the other documents are informative. I would have to closely evaluate the tax comparison to see if it is an “apples to apples” comparison. In general existing cities like Decatur and Avondale have much higher property taxes than unincorporated areas. This is largely related to the impacts of HOST which has different impacts on city and unincorporated areas. Avondale and Decatur have higher millage rates, different homestead exemptions, different fee structures for street lighting, sanitation, speed humps and
drainage – all of which need to be considered in a cost comparison. The future of HOST is
in play and will change over the next few years, but discussions are just beginning. Besides property taxes, cities have access to a wider variety of franchise fees (they appear on your utility bills) The future value of homes in a city versus outside is very speculative. Decatur is a little different because they have a highly valued school system. Annexation into Decatur would probably increase values. Avondale Estates is less certain.
• Keep in mind that nobody ever leaves DeKalb County. The state requires that counties provide: courts (state, superior, juvenile, probate); the clerk to maintain deeds, wills and court records; the tax commissioner to collect taxes; the tax assessor to value properties; the district attorney, solicitor general and public defender; and the board of voter registration. The County will probably continue to provide and charge for libraries, water and sewer, fire rescue and 911 communication. In addition a separate government the
DeKalb Board of Education which collects about 60% of your property tax bill will remain
responsible for education unless you are annexed into Decatur or Atlanta.
• Annexation is about police, planning/zoning, parks, roads and drainage, permitting, historic preservation, economic development, community development and sanitation. A city can offer you closer scrutiny of these services. County government can offer economies of
scale for many government services.
• It is certainly true that once, you are in a city, there is little opportunity for change, although some cities (East Lake) have dissolved or become part of larger cities.
I hope this is helpful to you. Davis Fox
Policy and Projects Manager for
Super District 6 Commissioner Kathie Gannon
DeKalb County Board of Commissioners
The FHNA is organizing mini tutorial sessions – we would like to recruit neighbors who have a hobby or skill to share that knowledge with the rest of us. This could be something like building birdhouses, rain barrels, etc, etc. The greenspace is always available as long as the weather cooperates, but the leader of the session can choose to volunteer their home as well. We are kicking the tutorial off with my “learn to knit” tutorial. I will bring knitting needles, yarn and a pattern. However, if you would like to kick in some bucks, I will also have needles and yarn to sell at the event – so you can take your knitting home with you! I am trying to gague how many people are interested and when would be the best time to schedule it…. please pick a day below that you could attend. Thanks!
Please see the flyer below written and distributed by the “pro-annexation group” for information.
Forrest Hills Neighborhood Needs Your Help!
We want to hear from you!
Please complete the following brief survey seeking your opinion concerning annexation into the City of Avondale Estates. You have 2 options to complete the survey:
1. A (yellow) paper copy will be distributed to all homes, in our neighborhood, in the next week.
2. Complete the online survey, using the survey monkey link, provided below.
*One survey per household.
There is a neighborhood meeting on Monday, October 13th, where annexation shall be discussed. Your help in completing this survey will ensure that your voice(s) will be heard! All neighbors are encouraged to attend!
In order to compile the data in time for the October 13th meeting, please respond by Monday, Sept. 29th.
Click here to complete your survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/86CBYG8
I rolled around and collected 5$ from all the participants I could find, it looked like maybe not everyone who said they were going to participate actually ended up with a yard sale (or they packed it in early). If you didn’t donate 5$ and would like to, please make a donation on the main “welcome” page.
Kate was kind enough to make the signs which I purchased the materials for. 6 signs were made in total, and they were placed in the following locations: South Columbia & N Carter. Just inside N carter from south columbia (where you could stop to get a map), College and Arcadia, Craigie and Arcadia, Criagie in front of the apartments, and Forrest near Museum School (which had maps attached). Looks like a lot of maps were taken from the sign on FOrrest, but hardly any were taken from the sign on N. Carter. Next year, maybe it would be better to drop maps off at each house to distribute too. There seemed to be some confusion and some people thought there were no signs up, I assure you, I put those signs up at the crack of dawn. We didnt have enough signs to put on everyone’s street – maybe next time we will since we are going to save the signs we made this time.
I also advertised the yard sale on Criagslist (which looked like was the most successful way to advertise) as well as three seperate online yard sale forums. The map was also shared on Facebook to several area forums. I also sent the map to Decaturish.com and Decaturmetro.com, but I dont think they ever published it (rats!)
An idea for next years: Scavenger hunt! If the customers visit every house on the map (the home owner can stamp their house on the map or something) then they get a prize or something? It might be a cute way to make sure that customers visit all the houses. Any other suggestions would be welcome as well!