Hundreds Attend DeKalb Cityhood Town Hall Meeting

Stone Mountain state Rep. Michelle Henson was one of several DeKalb Democrats who attended Monday night's legislative town hall meeting.

At a meeting that seemed to be designed to slow the on-rushing train of cityhood, Democrats in DeKalb’s legislative delegation urged residents to consider a variety of issues before deciding to incorporate.

“You all have gotten our attention in a very substantial way; we hear you,” said state Sen. Jason Carter (D-42) told the several hundred people in attendance. “I’m not sold on the idea of creating new cities, but the fact that we have so many people here tonight is a good sign.”

The meeting was held this past Monday at Clairmont Hills Baptist Church, and was hosted by state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur). Oliver has been an outspoken opponent of the way that cities are created in Georgia, most recently during the debate over Brookhaven’s municipalization.

Other DeKalb lawmakers, county commissioners and leaders of local civic organizations joined Oliver. All but two of the elected officials were Democrats: state Rep. Tom Taylor and state Sen. Fran Millar, both of whom represent Dunwoody in the General Assembly, and who were involved in Dunwoody's road to cityhood.

Taylor is also a leader in an effort to allow new cities to form their own separate school systems.

Several bills were filed in the most recent General Assembly session that would create cities from throughout several areas in DeKalb, including portions of the Tucker, Druid Hills, Briarcliff and Lakeside communities.

Here are some comments from those who spoke at Monday night’s meeting. Also see the videos taken during the meeting:

Oliver: “Every day, on my way to work, I pass by a number of law enforcement personnel. City of Decatur, DeKalb County, MARTA … That’s a lot of law enforcement authorities ... I’m pretty unhappy with DeKalb County’s land use planning. I’m not unhappy with anything else … There are other vehicles to address these issues and concerns."

Michelle Penkava, Tucker parent: “We’re going to take a step-by-step process as we study this issue, because we share the concern of Sen. Carter. We understand this will be a divisive issue, but hopefully we can all work together.”

Bruce McGregor, past president, Druid Hills Civic Association: “Overall the level of services in DeKalb are pretty good. But the county does not do a good job of fostering a sense of place. And we are very concerned that people in north DeKalb are forming their own cities while we’re being left behind.”

State Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody): “Cityhood is a fluid process … The basic question is, do people have the right to vote on and choose their own form of government?”

State Sen. Michelle Henson (D-Stone Mountain): “What do these communities hope to accomplish by forming their own cities? There are many things we need to be discussing as we move forward.”

District 2 DeKalb Commissioner Jeff Rader: “The county needs to maintain an equilibrium to ensure we continue providing services as the will of the people moves forward.”

See Also:

DeKalb Delegation's Cityhood Town Hall Meeting

New Cities Could Form Their Own School Systems Under Proposed Law

Patch's Extensive Coverage of Brookhaven's Incorporation


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