DeKalb’s Largest City Marks One Year

December 20, 2013 6:00 am

by Tim Darnell · 15 comments

The city of Brookhaven marked its first birthday on Tuesday, December 17, with a celebration in the city’s signature commercial and residential development, appropriately called Town Brookhaven.

But as DeKalb’s largest city marked its one-year anniversary since incorporation, another round of anonymous robo-calls criticizing Brookhaven’s leadership were being sent out.

The recording featured a woman’s voice, saying that, over the last year, city leaders have used taxpayer dollars for personal security expenses, legal fees and other items. Then the recording gave listeners an option to contact the mayor and city council directly, to express their displeasure, by pressing “1.”

The recording then ended with, “If not, then Happy Holidays.”

This isn’t the first time robo-calls condemning the city’s leadership have burned up Brookhaven’s phone lines. For several weeks and months after the municipalization vote, and as the new city was being organized, residents received automated calls that said Mayor J. Max Davis was planning to raise taxes through millage rate increases and other measures.

The city adopted a $26.3 million budget this past Tuesday that included a 3.5 percent pay raise for city employees.

In the meantime, Davis told AllNews 106.7 that the Pink Pony’s lawsuit against the city is still ongoing.

Earlier this year, the city passed an ordinance prohibiting alcohol service in adult-oriented establishments, which prompted a lawsuit from the Buford Highway strip club. Davis said he is confident in the ordinance, but looking back, he would have liked to had more time to discuss the city’s reasoning behind the law with Brookhaven residents.

The city has recently found a permanent home for its city hall – on Peachtree Road near Oglethorpe University – and a Buford Highway location for its police department.

Thomas Adams (@GeorgiaCRE) December 20, 2013 at 6:26 am

DeKalb’s Largest City Marks One Year – The city of Brookhaven marked its first birthday on Tuesday, December 17, w… http://t.co/9Bb7HjXY5K

bgsmallz December 20, 2013 at 8:08 am

“This isn’t the first time robo-calls condemning the city’s leadership have burned up Brookhaven’s phone lines.” Yet….here were are still repeating the claims from these anonymous (aka, probably illegal) robocalls as ‘news’ instead of questioning who is behind them and what are their motivations. But Page Hits, y’all!!! —I <3 journalism.

Francis Underwood December 20, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I’d look no further than Ms. Catherine Bernard and her “Republican Liberty Caucus” group for the source of Brookhaven robocalls and flyers. Been happening since Day 1 and will only increase in volume once she formally announces her candidacy against one of Brookhaven’s founding fathers, Mike Jacobs.

bgsmallz December 20, 2013 at 8:57 am

Forgive the narrative but…you highlighted your coverage of the cityhood debate in Brookhaven as one of the bright moments at Patch. Here’s my question…why on the one year anniversary of the city are you choosing not to report on the 2014 budget adopted by the city as it relates to much of that two year discussion?

Police…Brookhaven’s police department has been getting high marks, it is staffed at 59 full time officers (12% more than projected by the CVI) and that 3.5% raise you reference to city ‘employees’ is mostly a raise for the police department (since they make up roughly 80% or more of the city’s employees…Brookhaven contracts most of its work to IC’s). Meh….strip clubs, ya’ll!

Millage rate…there was much discussion about taxes being raised…yet Brookhaven is funding the budget with a 2.85 millage rate compared to the 3.35 rate that was included in the CVI. Meh….strip clubs, y’all!

The CVI study itself…there was much criticism about the CVI study and this is VERY relevant today as other cities debate the process. Brookhaven’s first full year budget would seem to be VERY relevant to the discussion on new cities. So throwing out an ‘aside’ about it being 26.3M without putting that in context isn’t helpful. It is 26.3M! That is more revenue than projected by the CVI despite a 15% lower millage rate. It makes that insane attempt by DeKalb county to fool its own citizens by ‘updating’ the CVI look even more criminal. (Remember when DeKalb said that said Brookhaven would be in default in year 1 of existence? You covered this right? http://brookhaven.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/vinson-institute-declines-to-update-brookhaven-study
http://media.cmgdigital.com/shared/news/documents/2012/06/19/06-18-12_DeKalb_Updates_Brookhaven_Study.pdf) This is a blog…not a column. Explore the medium!

Speaking of running in the red/black…how about the fact that the Brookhaven budget includes a 3 Million reserve in the general fund projected after 2014….again with the lower millage rate. The CVI projection put that reserve at about $300,000 after two years at a 3.35 millage rate. DeKalb and No City said the City would be $1M under water and that there was no way it could provide the level of services as stated in the CVI. Again, relevant? Meh…..STRIP CLUBS!

Those are pretty wonky though…what about Parks? That was a huge discussion on the Patch that you ‘covered.’ Brookhaven has budgeted $2,983,000 for park services and park improvements in 2014. $3 Million. [crickets?] In a letter provided for the CVI study, DeKalb county said their actual spending on parks in Brookhaven was basically $400,000. So in the first year of operation, the city is going to spend 600% more on parks, using a lower millage rate, and no bond issues…and this isn’t relevant? Wait….wha??? Parks was THE issue for many people in the city debate (after police). But instead of mentioning how different Brookhaven’s parks will look after 2014, you troll about the PP law suit? The city’s entire legal budget in 2013 was $425K with a fraction of that going towards the PP litigation. Last report was $40,000 for the litigation and drafting of the ordinance. $40K! Sandy Springs has spent $160,000 on strip club litigation since 2009…that’s…wait for it…$40K a year! And they are going to win! They’ll get that $160K back in increased tax revenues for the property and decreased resources related to crime for that area on Roswell Rd in no time. It is such a small blip on the budget, yet thanks to the good folks at Trop Inc., the media continues to cover it like it is some material expense that is bankrupting the city. It’s not. But….strip clubs!!!!

Sidewalks (What is the percent increase when the county did 0?), paving, etc. meh…those really aren’t important. Let’s only talk about strip clubs.

griftdrift December 20, 2013 at 9:15 am

Stink probably wouldn’t be covered if the city leaders chose to not step in it.

bgsmallz December 20, 2013 at 9:34 am

Seriously…those ‘leaders’ and their healthy police force, massive surplus, low taxes, and brand new park equipment and low legal fees have really stepped in it.

Stepped in it how? Because they passed an ordinance that nearly every other municipality and county in the area has passed, as well? Or stepped in it due to Trop Inc. deciding to likely spend 6 figures on fighting the litigation in the court of public opinion because they will lose in court. [ Shhhh...I won't tell anyone that they got to you, too.]

griftdrift December 20, 2013 at 9:48 am

Well they offer so much for a man of my moral proclivities!

bgsmallz December 20, 2013 at 10:20 am
brookvoter December 28, 2013 at 11:05 am

Biggie, I also wonder why the Pundit chooses to cover Brookhaven the way it does. Starting with the article last December wherein “Stefan” championed the anti-city and Dekalb Democratic party candidate Sandy Murray for Mayor. All that “pay for play” nonsense that was the crux of her campaign. Where is the follow up a year later to see how that narrative worked out? Was it true? Was there a microgram of validity to it? Did Calvin Giordano get a contract?
No follow up, no it wasn’t true, no validity to it, and no Calvin Giordano didn’t get a contract even though they bid. That would be an interesting article but I guess “Stefan” doesn’t have the energy to check his work.
We did get an article about Jim Eyre (the lone no city councilman ) giving the finger to one of his compadres. Amazing that the excuse/perspective from Eyre , the no city guy, was highlighted in the article.
Now we get a one year later article about the 1st birthday of Brookhaven . All the interesting news about the real progress of the city and Tim D. writes about robocalls and the Pink Pony. Does he even address the veracity of the anonymous robocalls? Has the city used taxpayer funds for “personal security”? What was the actual millage rate the city adopted? Why should readers have to rely on the comment section for the truth or real news? How many questions am I going to ask? Did the Pink Pony just lose its lawsuit against Brookhaven? Yes? Isn’t that news?
Is the Peach Pundit interested? Is the Pundit a conduit for the Dekalb Democratic machine ?

Harry December 28, 2013 at 11:43 am

Just so you know where he’s coming from, Tim D. advocates for Democratic Party progressive politics.
http://www.galeo.org/story.php?story_id=0000000612

These are the types that Charlie tends to move up as front page posters. So yes, it can be said that PP is a conduit for Democratic politics.

Harry December 28, 2013 at 11:43 am

(delete)

brookvoter December 29, 2013 at 11:49 am

So this site makes no pretense of objectivity? It is just articles and posts the editor finds interesting or pleasing that get featured. I guess that is what an editor does. Is there a Ga. political site that you know of whose intent it is to objectively lay out information. One that presents material from both or multiple sides of an issue in order to inform?

Mike Hassinger December 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Brookvoter, we generally leave the presenting of “material from both or multiple sides of an issue” up to the commenters, who log on to do exactly what you and bgsmallz have done -point out that there are other sides to “the story” of Brookhaven.
And yes, we make no pretense of objectivity, not even on a Sunday morning during the holidays.
-Cheers!

Harry December 29, 2013 at 1:50 pm

The GOP Establishment would prefer to “remain neutral” on most issues of the day.
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2013/12/27/Silence-on-the-Lambs-Palin-Cruz-Jindal-Had-Duck-Dynasty-Patriarch-s-Back-GOP-Leadership-Didn-t

Let’s not kid ourselves. This site has been allowed to become primarily a conduit of Democratic spin and talking points due to Charlie’s appointment of too many liberal front page posters.

brookvoter December 29, 2013 at 9:53 pm

It would be nice however, if the premise presented for discussion didn’t seem to consistently come from one side of “new city” debate. Wouldn’t it?

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