By John W. Frase
As vice president of the Kings Row Community Association, I have a great deal of concern with the upsurge of Cityhood consolidations within DeKalb. Many of my association members and community residents worked very hard to prevent the creation of Greenhaven, which would have become the second-largest city in the in f Georgia. Since the proposed City of Stonecrest would be in close proximity to DeKalb’s District 3, its creation would place further burdens on DeKalb County and possibly encourage other efforts toward cityhood consolidation in adjoining neighborhoods.
Firstly, residents should look at the facts right in front of their face that tell them that creating the City of Stonecrest would not be good judgment, at least not at this time. When you are told in the feasibility plan that police and fire services would not be funded by the City, then you should be aware that a completely viable City has to have enough revenue to support all citizen expectations for safety and security. Presently, the proposed City of Stonecrest does not have enough established and sustainable businesses to support creation of a City. Without an increased and reliable revenue stream, the residents of the area would be required to provide the revenue needed for the additional layer of government bureaucracy to include administrative costs, city employee salaries and benefits, as well as necessary vehicles, equipment, technology and facilities to accommodate operational needs.
Residents of the proposed City of Stonecrest need to focus on issues that impact economic development in South DeKalb. Below are issues of concern that would impact the attraction of new development to the Stonecrest area:
Sustainability of anchor companies that are not excluded from taxation
Create exceptional schools, childcare and other educational opportunities
Improvement of roads and drainage
Attention to the need for Infrastructure upgrades
Provision of adequate water and sewer capacity
Provision of adequate police and fire services
Presently, the above are concerns that have prevented economic development efforts and until addressed, it is unlikely that creating a city would eliminate any problems associated with the issues above. In fact, most of the above would require the action of DeKalb County government. Does anyone think that the above requirements for economic development could be improved by a county with declining revenue and manpower to address them? Since declining revenue for DeKalb County would be a result of creating the City of Stonecrest, where would the source of revenue needed for maintaining the present level of service be obtained? Declining tax revenue requires the reduction of services by DeKalb County. Therefore, if you want the same level of service, then residents within the City will have to make up the difference.
If you approve additional government and all the requirements to maintain it, the residents of the Stonecrest area will have to receive reduced services or accept a substantial tax increase. You presently have new County leadership for your area, an opportunity to work on the County issues without an additional layer of government and a transition that you cannot afford. Choose wisely, because your vote for establishing the City of Stonecrest will be one that you will live with for a long time.
John W. Frase is vice president of Kings Row Community Association.