Forrest Hills Neighborhood Meeting
February 20, 2017
Jessica Parilla opened the all neighborhood meeting and introduced Mayor Jonathan Elmore and City Commissioner Brian Fisher.
Mayor Elmore began his portion of the meeting stating that he had three goals for the meeting.
- Question and Answer session
- Being a better neighbor
A few of Mayor Elmore’s points were…
- If Forrest Hills were to be annexed into Avondale Estates we could expect better services; police, roads, trash, building permits, zoning issues…
- There will be a difference in our property taxes, but Mayor Elmore stated Forrest Hills residents will get more for their money.
- Avondale is a great community.
After Mayor Elmore spoke, Commissioner Fisher spoke explaining why Avondale was seeking annexation and the process. He said that Avondale is trying to approach annexation differently than they did two years ago. He said that Avondale is in a different place than before and that the residents of Avondale Estates are more open and welcoming to the idea of annexing Forrest Hills. The plan is for the city commissioners and Mayor meet several times within this year with our neighborhoods and others they are looking to annex and build relationships with the communities. The idea came to fruition a little quicker because of the recent talk of the City of Prosperity or Greenhaven.
Mayor Elmore and Commissioner Fisher promised that the next time we all met together that they would have a tax calculator for neighbors to compare the increase in property taxes as well as a map of the areas being considered for annexation.
- There were plenty of questions re: the possibility of taxes increasing. One point that was brought up was that if Forrest Hills was annexed into Avondale Estates than our Dekalb County taxes would decrease – helping to balance out the possible property tax increase. The Mayor and Commissioner could not give any specific answers re: taxes but promised that next time they’d have a tax calculator for all to look at and compare any tax increase.
- Currently there are 14 police officers who work for Avondale Estates – if Forrest Hills is annexed – Avondale will hire 4 new police officers, raising the number to 20.
- There were lots of questions re: the Museum school and traffic. Both the Commissioner and the Mayor agreed that traffic was an issue both for Forrest Hills and Avondale.
- The Mayor and Commissioner spoke about the effort to assist in the improvement of Avondale Elementary. The Avondale Foundation has been created and is working closely with Avondale Elementary.
- There was lots of discussion regarding “the gate” at between the Museum School and the Avondale park. The Mayor and the Commissioner both agreed that a solution needed to be created to fix the animosity felt towards the fence and gate.
- A question was asked about Walters Woods and if Forrest Hills was annexed into Avondale would Avondale take over responsibility for the upkeep of the Walters Woods. Both the Mayor and Commissioner agreed that Avondale would definitely take over the upkeep.
New Developments in Avondale
- The revamping of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA). The DDA has 7 new members.
- An ad hoc committee has been created to focus on green spaces in Avondale.
- They are working on improving Hwy. 278 by possibly reducing rates, creating new sidewalks, new pedestrian crossings.
At the end of the conversation the Mayor filled the neighbors in on the timeline re: annexation. If all goes as planned, Avondale will introduce a bill in the 2018 legislative session to annex Forrest Hills and other surrounding neighborhoods. The neighbors would then vote on the annexation in November 2018. If 50%+1 of the neighbors vote in favor of annexation then the annexation would officially take place January 1, 2019.
We all thanked Mayor Elmore and Commissioner Fisher for coming and answering our questions. There will be more meetings in the future regarding this subject.
Jessica Parilla – asked for the neighborhood to vote on an approve Robert Burke and Pat Hudson as board members. Both were approved. Jessica also announced her resignation and put a call out for new board members as currently the Forrest Hills board only has 3 members.
The next board meeting will be March 13, 2017 at My Parents Basement.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:51
Would you like to submit a question about annexation? Please comment below!