The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution Nov. 15 to study the effect the creation of new cities will have on the county.
The resolution will request a moratorium on new cities in DeKalb County while the state commissions a study on annexation and incorporation.
“This puts the Board of Commissioners on the record supporting a study of the implications of annexation and new incorporation in the county, which is an element that is noticeably missing in the current process of unilateral incorporation,” Commissioner Jeff Rader said.
Rader believes that the current process for studying incorporation, which requires an organization to consider the boundaries and financial viability of a future city, is not comprehensive enough.
“There is no information whatsoever on what the implications are either for service delivery in areas that are landlocked by these new incorporated areas or on the capacity for the rest of the county to continue to deliver services based on the erosion of their tax base,” Rader said.
“Typically, new cities have been constructed in such a way that their tax base per capita increases against the tax base per capita of the remaining county. That particular process is obviously not inclusive of the interests of everyone in the county and frankly isn’t inclusive of the interests of the state in ensuring that its local governments can meet their obligations for direct service delivery.”
The commission voted 5-1 to approve the resolution, with Commissioner Elaine Boyer voting in opposition. Boyer represents parts of north DeKalb County.
“People need to make their own decisions on how they want their government to look,” Boyer said in October. “If the citizens … no longer want the county of DeKalb, I think that’s their right and we’ll just have to deal with it.”
Rader recommended that the county’s study be completed before the General Assembly convenes in January so it could be compared to a recently completed study of the feasibility of a proposed city of Brookhaven.
“Legislators could compare the two and see what the broader public interest is,” Rader said.