When in the course of human events it becomes necessary ...***
( With apologies to Thomas …)
A sidebar item:
FIRST: I believe there is no perfect answer / solution to the “city” dilemma.
It’s a matter of shades of incremental grey…
Why I chose to SUPPORT the city concept.
Let’s start with the NO CITY flyer you recently had attached to your mailbox and address some of the “information” they provided. Candidly, it was better / fairer than anticipated but still misleading or at least incomplete on a few points. I prefer not address every line item. I accept some of their premises, also.
If approved – the city becomes the largest city in the county. Bravo. I think this point actually SUPPORTS the premise. Critical mass helps in gaining political outcomes and in promoting economies of scale if there are any to be garnered. (size matters!)
There will be a 1 mil tax increase and ad valorem taxes will rise. The estimate given is $120 / 300,000 of appraised value per home. The last time I had my gutters cleaned it cost me about $90 and I sometimes do it twice in a year. Your cable bill makes this look silly. Is this REALLY an objection? I prefer to look at the flip side – you get an energized group of local advocates who passionately care about how this neighborhood/city works… all for less than cost of your gutters being kept clean. You can’t BUY that kind of representation/support.
Speaking of cable –
The city will also collect franchise fees on your current utilities. ( telephone, cable, gas, electric).
THIS IS FLAT OUT MISLEADING. The flyer conveniently leaves out all of the these fees are ALREADY being collected and turned over to….. are you ready …. OTHER CITIES. Truth be told … now OUR CITY will get IT’S fair share of these fees and presumably will spend them here rather than elsewhere. HENCE, this is an ASSET. The fees you already pay will not change. TELL ME HOW THAT IS A PROBLEM!?
The city “only” plans to offer three services. < zoning, code enforcement, trash>
DUH! That’s the POINT of a limited city. The law demands they offer at least three services to qualify as a “city”. They have studied the services that the county provides and specifically chosen the most COST EFFECTIVE ones to absorb. I would call that good governance. For instance, taking over the maintenance of Parks and Recreation would be excessive / expensive.
The city will establish a court and enforce the codes. YES, sort of. My understanding is it is likely to have a judge on “contract basis” working out of some limited office space for minimal enforcement. I will agree however, that the this is one area where “costs” could run more than anticipated.
The city can incur debt. SO WHAT? The county can incur debt …
HERE is the dirty little secret the flyer does not want you to understand / know about. THIS city charter has a provision it that limits the tax increases that can be projected on us … at the one mill level. The city in and of itself CANNOT simply increase taxes on us without an act at the state legislature or a local vote. WE ARE THE ONLY CITY IN GEORGIA TO INCORPORATE THIS FUNCTION IN THE CHARTER. It’s NOT perfect, but it’s clear to me that the people behind the city recognize the tax issues for what they are and have gone above and beyond to address it to the point that we have more protection against tax increases than ANY city including John’s Creek, Sandy Springs, etc.
Trash service will be billed separately on your taxes as it is now. SO?
Who needs another bill in their mailbox? You will not be paying twice … is that what they were trying to infer????
The city doesn’t have a “trash plan”… they just hope they can negotiate a better deal.
You can’t negotiate on behalf of the city… it hasn’t been created yet! They have simply “shopped”. I personally question how long and at what cost it may incur as to their ability to “break” or get out of the current county agreement, but ultimately it will happen.
It appears there are some minor advantages and there should be as we have VERY dense neighborhood garbage truck runs. There SHOULD be some value / economies of scale.
You can’t be annexed without a petition and/or a vote.
I’ll presume that’s true. But examine what that DOESN’T address. Years ago Norcross wanted to annex Technology Park. They wanted the lucrative business tax base. It’s not clear to me what parcels I DO get a vote on and where those lines are drawn. Certainly I can vote not to annex MY home, but when it comes to taking away some of the surrounding area parcels that help pay my county taxes, I’m not so sure I’d be offered a chance to participate or have any legal protections. The result could easily be YOU end up in unincorporated Gwinnett and find yourself having to carry the tax load while other areas encroach / take away things that used to contribute to your benefit. CHANGE HAPPENS.
Three things come to mind when I look at this vote.
I’ve been here for 25 years and things do change. The county HAS worked well, but even it is struggling to manage the size scope and scale of hundreds of thousands new residents. Dacula, Snellville, Lawrenceville residents really don’t care a hoot about what goes on in the very southwest corner of the county. I’ve watched other communities lose control. Drive down ANY former artery in ATLANTA . . . . say Buford HWY. , Roswell Road, Memorial Drive, Scenic HWY in Snellville. Going local / smaller for a reasonable amount of tax exposure seems like a bargain to me. Getting a local passionate group monitoring things has its upside. YES, sometimes I’ll disagree with THEM, too. BUT, they will be far more addressable on a small local level, too. I’m not fear mongering. I’m living in the moment, and the moment suggests to me that the size, scale, scope is worthy of considering.
Some suggest that creating a city will only lead to more and more government and hence more and more taxes. I believe THAT is partially fear mongering. The charter has contemplated and brought in reasonable items to address that to the extent we are now THE MODEL charter if so approved.
MARKETING: for what it is worth, I DO believe that “peachtree corners” as an address / city has some merit in terms of marketing. The world is run by “data” / the web. Once the city becomes legitimate, there will be compilations of exactly what we are and right now on paper we look better than the average parcel of unincorporated GWINNETT. I don’t think it SHOULD matter, but I KNOW it DOES matter. The “name brand” will sell and that helps all of us.
I’m not on any committee nor did I advocate any formal position for this city thing to take place.
I’m just homeowner like you.
There are websites ( http://peachtreecorners.patch.com/blog_posts/setting-the-facts-straight ) and meetings to discuss this.
That’s all folks ….
Enjoy your day and remember to vote.
Edward A. Thayer
*** Recently a neighbor of mine sent me and a few close friends/ other neighbors an email discussing why he was NOT supporting the “city” concept. Then I also recently received a flyer attached to my mailbox outlining some information advanced from a group that is seemingly is responsible for the “no city” concept / signs. This is my response. It is a personal understanding that I am willing to share and debate with reasonable people. I hope you enjoyed the thinking exercise.