The Board of Commissioners approved a resolution on Jan. 22 opposing the annexation of unincorporated DeKalb County by the city of Decatur.
The resolution comes on the heels of two resolutions passed by that city on Dec. 17 to ask state legislators to annex a two-tenths-mile area that includes shopping centers Suburban Plaza and North Decatur Center at the intersection of North Decatur and Clairmont roads. An assortment of apartment complexes and about 60 houses are also part of the area.
The board’s resolution says that the proposed annexation “would increase the tax burden to both property owners targeted for annexation and taxpayers throughout unincorporated DeKalb County.” It also said that owners of property in the proposed area have expressed firm opposition to annexation.
BOC legislative consultant Phyllis Mitchell told residents at a Jan. 24 public meeting into the county’s 2013 legislative agenda that the county’s resolution supports House Bill 22 sponsored by Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur), which also calls for a moratorium.
Commissioners will meet with the DeKalb house delegation on Jan. 28 to discuss the moratorium idea.
“We believe that the county needs the opportunity with the creation of Brookhaven and the creation of Dunwoody to assess what is the immediate financial impact on the county,” Mitchell said. “And we need a chance to look at the ongoing effects on unincorporated DeKalb County.”
Mitchell said Georgia law once required cityhood advocates to discuss the issue with counties before moving ahead but the language was repealed.
“We’re just asking that this language be put back in place,” she said. “So if there is going to be an annexation initiative, at least talk to us and at least let us have some remedies in place in case there is a citizen who wants to opt out of the annexation process.”
The push for legislative intervention comes in the wake of the creation of the city of Brookhaven last year and the city of Dunwoody in 2010. The BOC’s Finance Committee estimated the loss could reduce the county’s tax revenue by $21.8 million in 2013 and become a catalyst for property tax increases of 9.3 percent and 11.3 percent.
In contrast, Decatur City Manager Peggy Merriss estimates that revenue from the targeted area would be about $825,000.