Senator Fran Millar On Proposed City Of Brookhaven

Senator Fran Millar tweeted a link to the  following, which he posted on Facebook.  It appears to be intended as a letter to the editor of the AJC, though we’ll help him disperse the information here as well.

I can not understand why DeKalb CEO Ellis stated that the creation of a new city did not result in a tax savings for our citizens.

The proposed millage rate for the City of Brookhaven is about one half what DeKalb County charges for “similar” services. Furthermore, Dunwoody’s millage rate is even less.

I understand that like our President, CEO Ellis as well as Commissioner Gannon, believe in big government. DeKalb had a 26 percent tax increase last year. If this wasn’t an election year, then the citizens probably would have seen another tax increase. Good luck next year unincorporated DeKalb.

Dunwoody has run a surplus since its creation and I believe Brookhaven can do likewise. Furthermore, Dunwoody now has regular police patrol and a road paving program.

There will always be some personality clashes in any form of government. However, all government does not have to demonstrate a tax and spend philosophy like DeKalb.

Vote Yes for the City of Brookhaven – lower taxes and dependable services.

Senator Fran Millar


  1. DeKalb Wonkette says:

    My only beef: Druid Hills and Oak Grove neighborhoods are left out there alone, kind of like the situation for Buckhead if/when Milton County is reinstated. There was a time when DeKalb County government made it a preferred place to live but sadly that time is over. I’d jump at the chance to incorporate and get out from under at least some of the nonsense that passes for county government in DeKalb.

  2. Dave Bearse says:

    You’re right. Brookhaven boundaries were crafted to include as much commercial and industry property into Brookhaven as possible, leaving adjacent residents in unincorporated DeKalb residents with little in the way of tax base. Guess those folks will have to fend for themselves.

    There are legitimate concerns with Fulton and DeKalb County government’s, but balkanization won’t much correct them. It’s another reason, along with what I think we’ll soon see with transportation, that Atlanta is becoming an also-ran, and Georgia is headed toward the mediocrity of our Deep South peers.

    • bgsmallz says:

      Uhh…Dave, check a map. The whole ‘drawn in to include as much commercial and industry as possible’ is just a false meme.

      North boundary is Dunwoody/285, West boundary is Fulton Co/Sandy Springs and most of the East boundary is city of Chamblee….the boundary of Brookhaven is roughly 18 miles as drawn and over 13 of those miles are adjacent to existing municipalities.

      But let’s humor your conclusion a little more and dig into those last 5 miles of boundaries…

      There is 2 miles along Clairmont Road in the East. Don’t know if you’ve seen the commercial property on the east side of Clairmont, but it is lavish at I-85. Originally that area was to be included in the feasibility study but was excluded after local residents and city of Chamblee complained that their options were being limited. That area is now set to be annexed into Chamblee with Chamblee and the residents in that area seemingly very happy about having a chance to do so. (So….strike that 2 miles off your complaint list)

      Now to the southern boundary…let’s look at a map again, shall we? The only question would be (a) do you stop short of I-85 on the south (where? Peachtree? Dresden? Buford Hwy?) and leave the area b/w I-85 and “Brookhaven” in no mans land, (b) go to I-85, (c) or extend beyond I-85 into Oak Grove/Sagamore/Toco Hills/etc. (and then face the same line drawing problem and stupid complaints about ‘land grabbing’ you would have if you stopped short of I-85 only to a greater degree).

      Obviously the answer is (b). That’s the thing about ‘reality’…it can be a kick in the gut to stupid talking points.

      As far as your other point about balkanization, I wholeheartedly disagree. The T-Splost roundtable is a great example. I live in “Brookhaven”…you know who my representative was at the table? Burrell Ellis. Somehow, I’m supposed to feel like I have a seat at the table when Burrell is our rep at the table? Look at the dysfunction coming out of Cobb and DeKalb on this. No one can figure out whether they are coming or going…however, you also had several mayors on the roundtable. Bill Floyd, Bucky Johnson, even Kasim Reed…here’s the difference, those mayors have been able to clearly come to their constituents and say ‘here are the pros for our area and here are the cons’…’here’s what we get, and here’s what we aren’t getting’….and you know what? There seems to be at least an understanding there from those folks that (a) they were represented, (b) here is my choice and (c) this is how I’m going to vote….rather than the situation you have in Cobb and DeKalb where no one can seem to agree on the message, the benefits, or the actual representation on the round table. (It took my local state rep fighting for it to keep the $5M in funds for Ashford-Dunwoody improvements from being thrown out…DeKalb didn’t even care).

      You call it balkanization…I call it evolution of our local governments. We’ve been stuck with counties that want to be pretend cities for so long that we don’t even recognize how stupid a model that is anymore. I think the region will really take an upturn when folks feel like they have a seat at the table and rather than dividing the region, new local cities will actually improve our ability to coordinate between governments.

      • Dave Bearse says:

        I’m currently pressed for time. Perhaps I’ll respond in more detail later.

        Your mention of the boundaries initially including commercial property southeast of Buford Hwy and Clairmont supports my contention boundaries were crafted to include as much commerical and industrial as possible at the expense of adjacent unincorporated residential areas. That property is wholly disconnected from anyone’s concept of the community of Brookhaven and was a grab was so egregious that it couldn’t fly.

        • bgsmallz says:


          Feel free to believe whatever you want. Facts are facts and in this case, you have 5 miles you can legitimately have a beef about.

          If the purpose was as you say it is, why would you assume that those areas were voluntarily given up? The folks in those areas wouldn’t have had a vote on the city…yet they still had a voice in the process because the folks working to create a viable Brookhaven engaged in a dialogue and listened to them? That’s an interesting set up for an argument that it is a greedy land grab…

          If your case rests upon the premise that Brookhaven is crafted as a commercial/industrial property grab because there are areas that would be commercial/industrial property grabs that are NOT included in the boundaries of said Brookhaven, I would counter by saying that is the definition of ‘weak sauce.’

          Feel free to respond by telling me where you, in your infinite wisdom, would draw the boundaries. My guess is that you wouldn’t do it at all….and like many of the anti-city folks in our area are just against the city and therefore run out all sorts of tired reasons on why it is ‘so bad’ …with or without facts to support.

          • Dave Bearse says:

            Geez, sorry I touched a nerve.

            The areas were given up because including them was egregious.

            I’m among those residents of unincoporated DeKalb northwest of I-85 that would yet be in unincorporated DeKalb if Brookhaven incorporates. My principal objection to Brookhaven is the rush to incorporation, unlike Dunwoody where their was a well established community and boundaries in place for a period of years (and an incorporation that I did not oppose).

            It’s a simple in or out decision for those in the Brookhaven core. There should have been more time to develop and assess alternative boundaries for those north and west of the Brookhaven core where annexation into Chamblee was a consideration.

            Clearly you’re passionate about Brookhaven incorporating. Do you think the vote being held on a primary date along with the T-SPLOST referendum helps or hurts prospects?

            • bgsmallz says:

              Dave….I’m often way too snarky in print. Take my snark with a grain of salt and a tablespoon of patience, please.

              Regardless of ‘why’ you think they were given up or I think they were drawn out…the bottom line is the result is the same. They aren’t in the boundaries….that’s my point. There isn’t a lot of meat in saying ‘it’s a commercial/industrial’ grab because of things that aren’t being grabbed. Anyway, if we agree that Clairemont is reasonable on the East…then you still get back to the south boundary…I-85 is the only reasonable place to draw it.

              And yes…I’m quite passionate about it. I think between the Brookhaven incorporation and the Chamblee annexation (where are you on that issue?)…the entire direction of our area of the county can change for the better.

              I’m not sure you can avoid the primary date. If you note, that is the same date for all the other recent incorporations. The issue is if you have it later, you don’t have time for city elections in the fall…which means the city can’t start January 1. It’s less an issue of ‘when is the best time to have the vote’ and more of an issue of ‘this is when we have to have the vote logistically’.

              I don’t think the T-Splost is going to hurt or help the Brookhaven vote.

              • Dave Bearse says:

                After checking a map I’ll give you credit on the Clairmont boundary. It was my understanding the proposal yet included property north of Buford and east of Clairmont, which I see is no longer included. I agree the I-85 boundary makes sense.

                I think it rushed with respect to the area north of Johnson’s Ferry Road that probably doesn’t identify as Brookhaven. It may to interesting to check results from precinct(s) in that area.

                Brookhaven incorporation more or less forces Chamblee anexation especially the north island. Is there but one Chamblee annexation measure, or is the north island annexation a separate matter from the DECA area annexation? Just too fast and fearful for the alternatives to be properly considered.

                And what’s up with your occasional Decatur spelling as Clairemont?

                • bgsmallz says:

                  I live north of Johnson Ferry…feel free to drive around and check out the overwhelming # of Brookhaven Yes! signs. Our area was really faced with two options…try to work with Chamblee or Dunwoody to carve out annexations OR incorporate a new city. (or a third option…continue to bag up our cash and set it on fire….err….pay it to DeKalb county)
                  This has been an ongoing debate for a while. When it came down to it…most of our neighborhoods identified themselves as different than Dunwoody and Chamblee and more akin to the neighborhoods to the south….Ashford Park, Brittney, Lynwood Park, Brookhaven Fields, Pine Hills, Drew Valley, etc. (with the exception being Historic Brookhaven…no one is Historic Brookhaven except Historic Brookhaven…and if you forget, they’ll remind you 🙂 ) and feel that our city center is Brookhaven more so than Chamblee or Dunwoody…from Marist it is bascially equidistant from the ‘center’ of Brookhaven, Dunwoody, and Chamblee. I think the results from the ‘north’ end of Brookhaven will be overwhelmingly positive….a lot of that has to do with the fact that we have amazing parks that are neglected (Murphy Candler is probably one of the most underrated jewels ITP…and between MC and Blackburn you have 185 acres of parks and over 4 miles of trails including the lake trail and the PATH connecting the two) and that we constantly watch the Dekalb police drive from the North Precinct to parts south without the resources to actually patrol our neighborhoods.

                  As far as Chamblee annexation…not sure what you mean by ‘north’ island. Chamblee annexed Huntley Hills and everything north to 285 2 years ago….if your map doesn’t show Savoy Dr. in the city of Chamblee, it is outdated. There aren’t a lot of good resources out there, but this map shows the current boundaries as they extend to 285 and also gives you a good idea of the area currently proposed to be annexed south and east of Chamblee (i.e. DECA and Century Plaza).


                  Final note…grew up in Decatur…4th generation…bad habits are hard to break….while Clairemont is the correct spelling since the street was named after an actual person with the name Claire, you are correct that it is only spelled that way inside the city limits of Decatur.

                  • griftdrift says:

                    I had no idea Chamblee had Savoy Dr.

                    I find this whole thing quiet fascinating.

                    Another tidbit. I frequently drive North Druid Hills north of Buford. I see quite a few NO signs in that area. bgsmallz, any theory why the south part of the area might be leaning no?

                    • bgsmallz says:

                      Probably a combination of factors…

                      To me, the “No” camp falls into about four-five distinct views.

                      1) Historic Brookhaven- I call them the “None dare call it Brookhaven” camp. They are just mad because they are the ‘real’ Brookhaven according to ..well, them. It’s the height of snobbery. Look at Ed Lindsay…the guy fought for Sandy Springs but decided that making up the name Ashford at the possible expense of incorporation was worth it because of the pressure from his neighbors. It’s interesting to note that after Ed changed the name, somehow the folks in Historic Brookhaven had already made a sign that said ‘welcome to the city of Ashford…home of Historic Brookhaven’ and had it put up immediately after the name change. Anyway, Imlay is the major donor to the No City effort and is the largest landowner in Historic Brookhaven….oh, and she and her husband happened to donate about $35,200 to Barnes and the Democratic Party of Georgia in 2010 according to reports filed with the state so you can bet they are pumping money into the No City campaign as well.

                      2) You have the folks that don’t like change…ever.

                      3) You have the camp that are anti-code enforcement. They feel that it’s their right to keep their property as craptacular as they want and they know a city would be better at cracking down than DeKalb is. I’ve actually thought about doing a Tumblr with the No City signs and code violations.

                      4) Then you have the camp that feels it is a ‘political’ issue in terms of party. They line up against the GOP legislature on just about everything…and so to the detriment of their own community in my opinion…they are siding with the county (Dems), the DeKalb delegation (Dems), and the legislators that were against all new cities (Dems). (some of the groups overlap, obviously).

                      I’ve got no use for any of those folks’ opinion. Brookhaven is not an area that is best served by receiving municipal services from a county government. It’s a simple question of economics and efficiency in my opinion. DeKalb and other opponents will tell you cities can make sense but this is a land grab….but in truth, they have no interest in carving out cities from counties…they only want to defend the indefensible…namely, that somehow our current system of county governments providing municipal services is the best method of local government moving forward. That model is unsustainable….and frankly, if you wanted to make a good faith effort at sustaining it, you wouldn’t brazenly take revenues from one area and use that as campaign funds by spending freely everywhere else in the county.

                    • bgsmallz says:

                      I forgot about the 5th group…the ‘neighborhood leaders’…(sometimes, self appointed) who were offended that they didn’t get invited to help on any of the early committees. I’m thinking of two people in particular in Ashford Park and Drew Valley that love to see them self quoted in the local papers under the title ‘spokesperson’ and are buddy-buddy with many of the county folks due to their long, unending appointments of ‘spokesperson.’ I think I heard that one of these folks actually said ‘you have to romance a girl before you ask her to stay the night’ as part of the driving force of why this person was so offended about the idea. That’s clearly a person who is a selfless community advocate.

  3. chamblee54 says:

    1- The T-SPLOST roundtable had representatives from the ten counties, and the city of Atlanta. The smaller cities did not get individual representation. Even if Brookhaven did exist when the plan was drawn up, it would not have helped us.
    2- Whether the Buford Highway corridor should be in Brookhaven is a good question. The boundary has to be drawn somewhere. Should it be at the back yards of the Drew Valley and that subdivision on North Druid Hills? Or Buford Highway, or I 85? The area around Buford Highway is mostly apartments, filled with Hispanic people. Many of these people are undocumented, and will not be voting. If the new city was going to “cherry pick”, this is one area to leave out.

  4. Self_Made says:

    Stonecrest residents…time to be the first new city in South DeKalb. We are being set up, we need to take action, and we need to do it now. Dunwoody stole the most lucrative part of the county despite the fact that it was BUILT by the residents of ALL of unincorporated DeKalb. Now here comes Ashford, um, I mean Brookhaven (steal a name?), with Chamblee there to divide the Buford Hwy spoils and I’m sure Tucker will be chiming in soon to cover the entire norther border.

    City of Stonecrest…wake up!

    • Dave Bearse says:

      Dunwoody for years got short shift with respect to residents wishes on zoning matters and other issues. Actions have consequences. A rush to carve up the County into municipalities isn’t in the best long term interest of the County or region.

  5. Tom Taylor says:

    A serious question. Who on the DeKalb Legislative Delegation would sponsor or carry that legislation? I could go round and round with you all day on the incorporation of Dunwoody, disparate tax digests, etc. But that is for another time.

    You brought up a serious issue, so a serious question. What elected representative on the DeKalb Delegation at the General Assembly would sponsor a bill to incorporate a City of Stonecrest?

    As a legislator from DeKalb County, I would support almost any incorporation of municipalities in DeKalb. Would your local representative?

  6. Self_Made says:

    Frankly, Tom Taylor, I don’t believe that any member of the DeKalb Delegation who currently represents any part of the Stonecrest area would do it. Perhaps once the new senate map is approved, those representing districts that have been expanded into neighboring counties can disengage from the DeKalb County Commission and the partisan wars at the capitol enough to listen to me and other citizens who feel like I do. I believe that for DeKalb (just as for Fulton), the county model is broken, but the land grabs by our northern neighbors have jeopardized the viability of any future municipalities within the county.

  7. Tom Taylor says:

    To quote Dick Williams of the Dunwoody Crier and the Georgia Gang…..”if Pine Lake can be a viable city, anyplace in DeKalb could be.”

    At least we agree that the DeKalb County system is broken. Time to do what other areas have done and put your future in your own hands.

  8. Brookhaven Tax Hike says:

    And…this is based on 2011 City Millages. Already Avondale, Clarkston, Stone Mountain and others are considering a tax increase for 2012 – some as high as 20+ percent. Using 2011 City Millages, and a 59% HOST tax credit, Unincorporated Dekalb County is lowest folks. Even lower than our ethically challenged Dunwoody.

    See for yourself:

    • bgsmallz says:

      Welcome, DeKalb County troll.

      Is this Burke or Angela?

      Anyone from the DeKalb county government calling Dunwoody ethically challenged needs to read some scripture…you know the part where it talks about worrying about the speck in your brother’s eye and instead of the plank in your own eye?

      Here is a good question…the county’s digest declined by 9% this year, the county is raising the HOST exemption, too….so why in the world would the CEO push and approve a budget that calls for a 5% increase in spending in 2012?

      Over the past 10 years, the county has raised the millage rate 3 times… Spin 2011 as much as you want…although I’m certain your numbers don’t take into account the higher HOST payments going to cities which would most certainly allow Brookhaven to charge a lower rate than the millage cap in the charter

      ….I’m more worried about 2021 when I know Brookhaven’s rate will be the same unless we voted it higher and, based on current history, DeKalb’s CEO and Commission will still be pushing spending increases with money the county doesn’t have.

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