On the second anniversary of the vote allowing Brookhaven to become a city, Mayor J. Max Davis asked, “How can I make sure that Brookhaven’s government doesn’t become the problem?” in his first State of the City address.
The event took place in front of more than 100 people July 31 at the Holiday Inn Atlanta Perimeter on Chamblee Dunwoody Road in Brookhaven.
State Rep. Mike Jacobs, who introduced the bill allowing Brookhaven’s incorporation to the Georgia Legislature, introduced Mayor Davis at the event.
“I have the distinct honor of introducing for his first state of the city the first mayor of the city of Brookhaven,” Jacobs said. He described the referendum campaign as “tough” for Brookhaven’s incorporation, which was the closest vote of any new city that has been incorporated.
“J. Max Davis in particular is well suited for this moment,” Jacobs said, adding that the role of Brookhaven mayor requires a “unique person with a unique personality and unique temperament.”
Davis, who was president of Brookhaven Yes, the group that was at the forefront of incorporating the city, kicked off his talk by saying, “As more communities in DeKalb County are looking at cityhood, it is an honor for me to be here on July 31, the two-year anniversary of the day we proudly voted to incorporate. We will celebrate two years of full-fledged city operations about six months from now.”
He said he supports the cityhood movement in DeKalb. “I support the efforts of various groups around the county who are looking to form new cities,” Davis said. “I’m confident DeKalb will start to embrace new cities and see the advantages of partnering with us and other truly local movements.”
He pointed out some promises made by Brookhaven Yes as well as his mayoral campaign that he says the city has kept or improved upon:
- “Property taxes will be capped and you’ll be pay the same or less than you were to the county.” He said the under-the-cap millage rate is 2.79. “Whether it’s a $300,000 home or a million-dollar home, our homeowners will be paying between $50 and $220 less in property taxes respectfully.”
- “Brookhaven will have a $1 million surplus in year one.” He said that money was put aside into a reserve fund and the city should be able to more than double that amount this year.
- “Police force would have at least eight to nine beat patrols at all times, doubling or tripling DeKalb’s coverage.” He said the Brookhaven Police Department actually has at least eight to 10 patrols at all times and sometimes as many as 12. I can’t drive through Brookhaven without seeing a patrol car,” he said.
- “Brookhaven will mean better parks.” He said the city is spending six times more on parks than DeKalb.
- “Brookhaven will mean better roads.” He said city crews are working right now to pave 16 roads in the city.
He said permit wait times have dropped since the city incorporated from two months to 10 days, and that goal is part of making sure Brookhaven isn’t part of the problem. “Good law doesn’t have to be overly complex,” said Davis, explaining that the city is trying to simplify and reduce the size of its codes.
He also pointed out the Comprehensive Plan, Buford Highway Improvement Plan, Transportation Plan, and Parks and Recreation Plan that the city is working on that will give “predictability” to residents so they can know what expect of the city.
More goals for Brookhaven, he said, are community-building events like the food truck roundups and SoccerFest. He also said the city will soon begin working on traffic relief in the Ashford Dunwoody-Johnson Ferry corridor.