City Of Briarcliff Moving Forward – Community Meeting Set

Received via press release:

The City of Briarcliff Initiative, Inc. (COBI) announces that it has entered into a contract with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia for a city feasibility study, sponsored by Georgia State House member, Mary Margaret Oliver.

The study costs $30,000, which COBI successfully raised in just five weeks.  COBI treasurer, Chuck Williams, CPA announced that 98% of the money was donated by individual residents and neighborhood civic associations within the proposed boundaries of the City of Briarcliff, a strong indication of community support for the Briarcliff initiative.

Allen Venet, President of COBI, stated that this was a remarkable achievement and is a vote of confidence by the residents in the proposed City of Briarcliff.  “The people of central DeKalb County and their civic associations want a new city with sensible boundaries with a government more accountable to voters,” said Venet.

The City of Briarcliff Initiative began because of the community desire to create a new city with logical, inclusive, boundaries compared to the arbitrary alternative proposed by others.  The proposed City of Briarcliff includes the area inside the perimeter, between I-85 on the north and the City of Decatur on the south, including the key institutions of Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that help to define our community.  Said Venet: “a new City of Briarcliff will be economically vibrant and culturally diverse, helping to improve both our area and all of DeKalb County by fostering sensible growth.”

The COBI funded study will be considered by the Georgia legislature in its session beginning in January 2014.  In the coming months, the volunteers of COBI will be increasing their efforts for dialogue with residents and gather support for a City of Briarcliff whose slogan is “A Better City for All.”

A community meeting is set for 7:30 pm, Thursday, September 12 at the Clairmont Hills Baptist Church, 1995 Clairmont Road, Decatur, for all residents interested in learning more.

32 comments

  1. Jackster says:

    So with the schools in this proposed district already set to move towards a charter basis, why don’t they just continue to be a part of Decatur? They have a school system, police, fire, and an identity.

    Oh, they have non white, non wealthy folks as well, which would make it a “better” city.

        • bgsmallz says:

          Uh…..city of Decatur is 74% white and has a median income of $73K. Whatever he meant to say was dumb.

          • bgsmallz says:

            By the way, I love ….er…hate…to say “I told you so”, but …”Lakeside” is on the verge of getting crushed by Briarcliff and Tucker because it decided to fight a two front war instead of bringing everyone to the table. Nicely done, everyone.

            • Progressive Dem says:

              It will interesting to see how the Republican legislature treats Democrats. The Lakeside proponents have been counting on having the GOP juice of Fran Millar behind them. Briarcliff is full of Dems that might not get their voice considered, or otherwise thrown under the Lakeside bus. Tucker on the other hand has a large number of Republicans and won’t be happy if Lakeside poaches some of Tucker’s commercial properties.

          • Jackster says:

            Right, but it already has its own services. And on top of that, it’s more diverse than this district.

            I just assume make it Decatur – Not sure why this area needs to be a city.

            However, I’m thinking a more appropriate name would be, “Emory”.

            • bgsmallz says:

              Number 1…”Briarcliff’ is more diverse that City of Decatur not the other way around. The CVI will have the breakdowns, but I’m willing to guess it will be roughly 55 to 60% white.

              Number 2- The city of Decatur has services, correct. However, it is a 4 square mile area with a population of 20K. Briarcliff looks like it will be roughly 16 to 20 square miles with a population of 40K to 60K. You don’t just annex in 5 times your area and population.

              • Jackster says:

                Well I’m a bit new to this annexation thing – I grew up around those parts, so I always considered it to be Emory, Toco Hills, and Decatur.

              • dekalbguy says:

                Last I saw, Briarcliff would be 92,000 population. Racial breakdown about 66% white, 16% black, and 11% Asian. The 66% “white” includes Hispanic.

    • bgsmallz says:

      Isn’t the more relevant question, which cities that have been deemed viable by the CVI have not been viable?

      The answer, at least in the cases we have been able to test in the past 10 years, is zero. They are batting 1.000. And none of those cities have had to exceed their charter millage cap.

      Oh…did I misunderstand your question? I thought you were looking for real information but maybe you were just asking sarcastic rhetorical questions in an attempt to demean rather than to debate an idea you differ with. Carry on.

        • bgsmallz says:

          If I understood it correctly, it was a sarcastic question akin to an eyeroll at the news that they are moving forward on the CVI study. My point is that his snark would have more teeth if the CVI was finding cities viable and those cities started failing.

          To your specific question, let’s correct a misconception that the CVI recommends incorporation. It doesn’t. The study is simply a viability study. The study estimates expenses for services based upon expenses of comparable cities, demographics, etc. The study estimates revenues based upon tax digest, estimated fees, etc.

          The key to viability isn’t the study. It’s the millage rate. Virtually no city would come out of CVI analysis as viable if the millage rate was 0. Virtually every city would come out of CVI analysis as viable if the millage rate was 20.34 mills or something stupid. So what you are calling a ‘recommendation’ is really just an analysis based conclusion on whether a city would spend more than it earns at a certain millage rate. Pretty simple stuff.

          What I’m interested in seeing is how much a difference the CDC and Emory makes on the CVI study. What are the tax ramifications of the US Government and a learning institution owning 10 to 20% of the property in the proposed city? What are the offsets provided by the fact that Emory and the CDC have their own security/police? It’s definitely wonky, but I’m interested in the results.

          • My understanding is that the Peachtree Corners study didn’t turn out to be that accurate, and not in the direction that was favorable to taxpayers. And all that city does is zone, I believe.

            • bgsmallz says:

              The CVI did a viability study on 1 mil and showed an estimated $3M in revenue. Peachtree Corners set a budget based upon .85 mil at $2.5M. From a viability perspective, the CVI study was dead on.

              The expense side was certainly not equal…but a fair criticism is that the CVI can’t predict what a city council will actually budget.
              Here is what was different in the CVI expenses and Peachtree Corners…
              -A state mandate that requires new cities to have a finance department (arguably even if it isn’t necessary). $189,000
              -$130,000 in budgeted legal fees instead of $68K as in the CVI
              -$250,000 to lease and renovate space rather than issue bonds to purchase a city hall as contemplated by the study for start up costs of $63K.
              -$500,000 in contingency(!)

              So where the CVI said…you can do a city on $750K with a $2.3M surplus at 1 mil, Peachtree Corners city council decided to have a first year budget of $2.5M (with 25% dedicated to reserves) and set the mil at .85. The CVI is a model, but it can’t tell people what decisions to make on spending.

              Two other notes….
              1, Peachtree Corners has to provide three services to be a city under GA law: zoning, code enforcement, and sanitation are the three.
              2- I tend to be defensive of the CVI because they are a good group of folks that are non-political and do great work for the entire state. The entire No City Brookhaven campaign was (and continues to be) to degrade the good work done by that group of folks rather than actually addressing facts and figures. It isn’t fair to the fine people of the CVI and to the work they do for both sides of the aisle and beyond…Frankly, the whole meme needs to be put to rest by folks like you who might actually have influence over those who continue to perpetuate the falsehood that the CVI does anything but yeoman’s work on behalf of this state.

          • Scott65 says:

            Thanks for answering…I was not aware that they didn’t make recommendations. I’m pretty sure at this point I am for Briarcliff…since we will have some very important issues seeing how MARTA now wants to change all the parameters on the Clifton Line that was negotiated with the residents affected. COB will be much better suited to represent homeowners in the area

  2. MattMD says:

    I can’t say I blame them at all.

    DeKalb Co. is likely more dysfunctional than Clayton. Dirty cops, a CEO under indictment and schools put on probation by SACS: it all sounds so familiar.

    • KingRichard says:

      MattMD is spot on, any reasonable legal American Citizen would greatly desire removal from Dekalb County one of the worst Counties in Ameica mind you. Last year I remember seeing a flood of proud Dekalb Government Employees doing a walk to sponsor some disease, what made me want to vomit was the number of them proudly wearing their bright Red Dekalb Government T-Shirts…they out numbered everyone. Worst County Evah!

    • dekalbguy says:

      Bad news for the “lets get out of DeKalb” folks. Everybody in a city — Decatur, Tucker, Chamblee, Briarcliff, Brookhaven, etc. — they’re still also in the county. Cities just do a limited number of services; the county continues to do the rest.

  3. gcp says:

    Understand boundaries of I-85, Decatur and City of Atlanta but what about the other quadrant? Will Briarcliff stop at Oak Grove, Northlake, 285, Clarkston, Gwinnett, City of Stone Mtn., Memorial Drive?

      • gcp says:

        Got it…City of Briarcliff makes sense. Easily recognized boundaries. Tucker could take the area outside 285 which is the traditional “Tucker.” City of Lakeside needs to be dumped.

  4. Scott65 says:

    Oh well, guess I’ll be in Briarcliff. As for Decatur, they have some of the highest taxes in the state. I’d rather not participate in that idea. As for the horrors of DeKalb Co…well, my garbage gets picked up twice a week, lawn refuse once a week, and taxes are way lower than Atlanta or Decatur. If they can continue that…I have no problem.
    As for success rates, I dont know that I’d be ready to call Brookhaven a success at this point…more like a hot mess.
    Here is a link to the proposed map
    http://northdruidhills.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/city-of-briarcliff-group-weve-raised-16000

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