Petition Closed

Say "NO" to the City of Decatur annexing Dekalb County Commercial properties

This petition had 364 supporters


Although Unincorporated Dekalb is not sure how things will proceed, there are strong indications that Decatur officials will continue in their attempt to annex near-by commercial areas without annexing a significant number of residential areas to offset the tax dollars they would remove from the county school system.

This current plan was approved by the DeKalb House Delegation last year and has only to pass the 2016 Senate Delegation to be enacted.  While several of the more cherry picked areas were stripped from the plan by the House in 2015, what remains takes a vast swath of majority commercial property from unincorporated DeKalb and gives it to an already well funded City of Decatur. 

This annexation is different from the Brookhaven, Chamblee, and even Avondale annexations.  Decatur has its own school system.  A review of property records shows the commercial property value in the area approved by the 2015 DeKalb House Delegation – Area B-3 on Decatur’s map (a portion of Rep. Karla Drenner’s district) – is $312,374,121.  The current school tax generated from this commercial property is $2,925,224.  This is nearly 3 million dollars PER YEAR that will be siphoned from DeKalb County Schools to the City of Decatur.  As these commercial properties continue to develop, the loss in revenue will likely soar much higher. 

Decatur claims it needs to balance its commercial and residential tax base, but we believe this is an invalid argument.  Decatur’s property values are in excess of those needed to support reasonable services.  DeKalb County residential property values are just the opposite – and chipping away at DeKalb’s commercial base will cause irreparable damage to the county and particularly its schools.

Decatur has a high-performing, independent school system that also benefits from a staffed development foundation that raised half a million dollars in 2014-2015[1]; furthermore, Decatur’s per student expenditure ($14,429) far exceeds that of DeKalb ($10,749)[2]. This large annexation proposal is primarily commercial with only about 200 homes included. Thus Decatur is not taking anywhere near a commensurate number of students to offset the loss of commercial tax revenue for DeKalb schools. This is UNFAIR. Decatur is grabbing commercial tax base to support their already highly funded schools – at the expense of DeKalb County’s vastly underfunded school system.

Decatur can and should look to develop more commercial property within their existing boundaries.

Additionally, we fear that this is only the beginning for Decatur.  Annexing this large B-3 swath will give Decatur additional contiguous commercial borders - a foothold allowing them to engulf other even more valuable commercial properties such as Walmart and the Fuqua developments.  These are properties that Decatur has recently pushed to incorporate and allowing this unethical annexation to proceed will only enhance their chances of absorbing more of Central DeKalb's critical commercial holdings. Remember, Georgia law makes it very easy for cities to annex bordering commercial properties without additional review or popular vote. *https://decatureducationfoundation.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/DEF-annualreport-2014-2015-final-sm.pdf

Perhaps we are jumping to conclusions and Decatur will respond appropriately to arguments that their actions are unreasonable and unfair to the rest of the county. Given that Decatur is still pursuing senators to support this annexation during the current legislative session, we must continue to oppose this bill.

If you are opposed to this action by Decatur, please do your best to stop this annexation and avoid its devastating impact on funding for our children's schools.  

Please sign the petition and contact your DeKalb state senators today:

JaNice.VanNess@senate.ga.gov

steve.henson@senate.ga.gov

emanuel.jones@senate.ga.gov

gloria.butler@senate.ga.gov

elena.parent@senate.ga.gov

fran.millar@senate.ga.gov

gail.davenport@senate.ga.gov

This petition was written and approved by the MANA Board

[1] https://decatureducationfoundation.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/DEF-annualreport-2014-2015-final-sm.pdf

[2] Statistics according to nces.ed.gov/ccd/districtsearch of which the most recent fiscal data pertains to the 2011-12 school year. Approximately $4,400 of per student expenditure in Georgia is provided by the state. http://cslf.gsu.edu/files/2015/06/Georgia-Rankings-Among-the-States_June2015.pdf

 

 

 



Today: Dekalb County is counting on you

Dekalb County Residents needs your help with “DeKalb County Legislative Delegation: Say "NO" to the City of Decatur annexing Dekalb County Commercial properties”. Join Dekalb County and 363 supporters today.