Decatur wants all the benefit (tax revenue) of the commercial areas but isn’t able/willing to take on the students in adjoining neighborhoods.

Below is a response from http://www.decaturish.com/2014/12/regrets-school-board-supports-annexation-plan/                            to the article shown above. It fits perfectly about how unfair of Decatur to take money away from the areas of Unincorporated DeKalb where it is more desperately needed and give it to the mostly 1% of Decatur.

“Perhaps I’m a little simple minded, but I don’t get it. Decatur wants all the benefit (tax revenue) of the commercial areas but isn’t able/willing to take on the students in adjoining neighborhoods. Oh, not to mention the more affluent Decatur gets to capture tax revenue (school dollars) from DeKalb county, a school system that is inferior to Decatur’s in almost all academic and socio-economic measures (and therefore arguably in greater need of the school dollars). Why is this not a civil rights issue for the children of DeKalb county? Why is this OK for Decatur’s leadership and the citizens of Decatur? It’s not OK with me. The school overcrowding issue could be addressed in many more creative ways (policies that have an impact in keeping the city’s population down like helping older residents stay in their homes or NOT approving the building of tons of apartments, policies that make it unsavory to tear down small houses and replace them with McMansions, incentives that help attract larger-dollar commercial operations to existing Decatur commercial property (Trader Joe’s in Oakhurst, anyone))?
Grow big and plunder our neighbors’ tax base are not policies I want to be a part of.”

No2Decatur: City of Decatur Annexation attempt by Midway Woods Neighborhood Association 2012

Yes, we know they are at it again, however, I thought I’d show a recap of the 2012 attempted annexation of Midway Woods now that Peggy Merriss and staff are at it again. Below are the contents from our WWW.NO2DECATUR.COM website that helped defeat the attempt at annexation in 2012. But before I do so, I just saw an article in Decaturish about Renfroe Middle School that shows they are expected to have an increase of 139% in student population…BEFORE any annexation. So, it just doesn’t make any sense to me why the City of Decatur and Peggy Merriss keep pushing annexation of residential areas.

VOTE NO 2 DECATUR

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Sign Petition

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Thanks No2Decatur Annexation Committee Members for all of your hard work. We are getting signatures, yet we still need more. Ask your neighbors to please sign the petition. Please call 404-719-1753 if you need a copy delivered or one picked up. With your help we will defeat this annexation!

No2Decatur.com presents an argument against the annexation of all of Midway Woods into the City of Decatur. 30 homes that are in Midway Woods are included in Zone D, however, Midway Woods Neighborhood Association is petitioning to include all of Midway Woods.

If you oppose being annexed into the City of Decatur, or you are unsure, please read through this site. If you agree annexation is not the best step forward, please make yourself heard! Use the button below to see two options for signing an anti-annexation petition and we’ll make sure you’re represented. Petitions must be given to the City of Decatur by Nov. 6 so we have set our deadline for Nov. 1, 2012.

Need some to pick up your petition? Just e-mail us at info@No2Decatur.com and we’ll make arrangements to do so. Or just drop in the mailbox at 1460 Deerwood Drive. This mailbox is secure once you have placed your petition inside no one but the owner can retrieve it.

What would annexation mean?

Annexation means you would pay higher monthly property taxes to be a resident of Decatur. This provides you with City of Decatur police, fire and emergency services; City sanitation services; and access to the City of Decatur school system. For information about annexation, see the City of Decatur’s annexation Web site here. See your likely tax increase, all based on numbers from the City and/or County, here. Finally, here are our arguments against annexation.

Some can’t afford to pay more

The cost of annexation hits directly the pockets of our neighbors, many of whom are on fixed incomes. In this already-troubled economy, to pay additional taxes for the home you have lived in for years is extremely stressful. Certainly, those who have kids in the DeKalb schools, but who would rather their kids be in Decatur schools, would benefit by annexation, but there are other options available to them without placing a significant, long-term financial burden on others.

Just the facts Ma’am

What is an estimated typical 2012 total tax bill for a home in the City of Decatur valued at $250,000?

With Fees – $4,844 in Decatur; $3,514 in DeKalb County.
Decatur – $4,079 DeKalb County – $765

Of that amount above, what portion goes to the City of Decatur and what goes to DeKalb County?

Please keep in mind that if your property value increases so will your tax bill. Taxes don’t stay still, they go up every year.

According to the City, “(A)ssessments are based on the value established by the DeKalb County Board of Tax Assessors. Based on information provided by real estate professionals, over the long term, increases of $30,000 – $50,000 over what would occur for unincorporated property for existing structures could be expected. New developments would probably see larger increases in value immediately based on the history of previous developments in the City of Decatur.” However, when asked to explain how they arrived at the number there is no clear empirical evidence to support. It’s possible the value of your home could decrease because many of the homes in Midway Woods would be considered “tear downs,” meaning if the area were to become part of Decatur, investors would only purchase your home to tear it down and build a much larger home thus paying you for the value of the land, not your home!

Below was noted from AnnexMeNot:

The tax calculator compares the difference in the taxes on a house in the City vs. a house in the County – houses of equal value. If your home’s value is going to increase after annexation, then the City’s tax calculator is useless as a basis for determining the taxes you will pay unless you enter two home values and compare 1) before/County and 2) after/City.

Anyway, is this the increase you expected?

Given the age, size and configuration of most Area B-1 (the same for Zone D) homes – and their proximity to existing and pending commercial properties of questionable influence over our neighborhoods’ appeal – a home valued today at $150,000 simply is not likely to be valued at more than $200,000 after annexation. Simply being annexed into the City does not bring your house value to the level of the average home value in the City. Not even close!

City of Decatur School System

There is no question that the City of Decatur has good schools. However, according to Peggy Burriss, City of Decatur City Manager, their schools are at or near capacity. Winnona Park Elementary has trailers on the school ground.

Where will your students attend class? Will Midway Woods students be shuffled off into various schools until the City can build more schools?

Museum School and Avondale Elementary

Your child will no longer be allowed to attend either of these schools. Also, if your child no attends Museum School, you may not be grandfathered in as their Charter is held with the County, and as such, Children attending this school cannot be in City of Decatur.

Annexation Inquiries

Below is a list of typical questions that have been asked about annexation. If your question is not included, please contact:

Peggy Merriss, City Manager
City of Decatur
P.O. Box 220
Decatur, GA 30031
Peggy.Merriss@decaturga.com

      1. What is the process for approving the annexation plan?First, the Decatur City Commission will have to decide whether to proceed.
        Second, the City Commission could ask that local legislation be introduced in the Georgia General Assembly.
        Third, if approved by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor, if the annexation increases the population by 3% or at least 500 people (whichever is the lower number), or if it was required by the sponsoring legislator, a referendum is required.The effective date of the annexation would be determined in the local legislation but it would likely be at the beginning of a calendar year. The legislation can establish a different effective date for independent school districts.

        Who votes in the referendum?

        Only the registered voters in the annexed area would participate in the referendum. The referendum would have to be approved by 50%, plus 1 of the voters to be effective.

        How long does this process take?

        Estimated at least 12-15 months, including time during the General Assembly and scheduling of the referendum. Additional time may be needed depending on the impact to the school system.

      2. What services does the city provide for its residents? And what services does DeKalb County provide for the Decatur residents? How does this change and affect our services if annexation occursThe City is a full-service municipal government. The City would provide all public safety; sanitation; planning, zoning and development services; recreation and parks; sidewalk construction. A full description of the City of Decatur services can be found athttp://www.decaturga.com.

        DeKalb County does not provide municipal services to City residents. DeKalb would continue to provide public health, public welfare, Courts & Sheriff services as required by the State of Georgia.

        DeKalb County provides all water & sewer services county-wide.

      3. What is an estimated typical 2012 total tax bill for a home in the City of Decatur valued at $250,000?With Fees – $4,844 in Decatur; $3,514 in DeKalb County.Of that amount, what portion goes to the City of Decatur and what goes to DeKalb County?

        Decatur – $4,079 DeKalb County – $765

      4. If annexed, what DeKalb County taxes would we no longer be paying?Bonded indebtedness would be reduced; the special tax district for Fire Services would be eliminated because it is included in the City’s general fund levy; School tax revenue would be received by Decatur City Schools instead of DeKalb County Schools.
      5. Will the city’s general fund millage rate be lowered if annexation is successful?The City Commission has indicated that they are only interested in pursuing annexation if it ultimately lowers property taxes.
      6. What are estimated changes in property values?Assessments are based on the value established by the DeKalb County Board of Tax Assessors. Based on information provided by real estate professionals, over the long term, increases of $30,000 – $50,000 over what would occur for unincorporated property for existing structures could be expected. New developments would probably see larger increases in value immediately based on the history of previous developments in the City of Decatur.
      7. Does the DeKalb County property assessment freeze apply to City property taxes?No.
      8. What are the senior homestead exemptions for the City of Decatur?The senior homestead exemptions for the City of Decatur include $1,000 homestead exemption from the City taxes for resident owners who are 65 years of age or older; a $50,000 exemption from city and school taxes if you are at least 62 years of age and income is less than $25,000; a $10,000 exemption from school taxes if you are at least 62 years of age and income is less than $10,000 (excluding retirement income); a $50,000 homestead exemption from school taxes if you are age 70 or older; and a complete exemption from school taxes if you are age 80 or older with less than $40,000 in income.
      9. When calculating the $10,000 income limit for the Decatur City Senior Homestead exemption (S1) is Social Security and retirement income excluded as it is for DeKalb County?Retirement income is excluded.
      10. How do we get information about Decatur City School?Information about City of Decatur Schools can be found at http://www.csdecatur.net/
      11. Are Decatur City School taxes used for any projects that are not school related?No.
      12. What is the long term development plan for DecaturThe City Commission adopted a ten-year strategic plan in 2010. A copy of the current plan can be found at: http://www.decaturga.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=2570
      13. If annexed, what guarantees would the neighborhoods have that zoning would not change to allow high density dwellings, i.e., condos, town homes or apartments, in our neighborhoods?The City Commission has not rezoned any single-family residential property to allow high-density commercial or residential use.
      14. Would annexed areas be eligible for sidewalks and bike paths?The City’s current standard is to provide usable sidewalks on at least one side of every street. That standard would be in place for any newly annexed area and would be implemented over time. Bike paths depend on the availability of funds, the assessed need and expressed support of the neighborhood and the contribution to connectivity to other parts of the City of Decatur.

What is the City’s street lighting standard?

The City’s standard is to have a street light on every other utility pole. Streetlight costs are included as a general expenditure and a fee is not assessed against the property.

  1. Does the City install traffic control devices such as speed humps?A petition from residents is required. If approved by the City Commission speed humps are installed as a general cost to the City and are not assessed to individual property owners.
  2. What will the city commission districts be?The City Commission districts are currently divided on a north/south basis, with two commissioners from each north district and two commissioners from each south district and one at-large. The City is required to have districts that are reasonably balanced by population so while the immediate districts would not change, it is possible that re-districting to balance the population might be necessary in the future.
  3. Will my County Commission district change?No.
  4. What is the effect of annexation on the property tax of DeKalb County residents where houses are not annexed?City property owners pay DeKalb County property taxes for services provided county-wide such as the Court system, public health and public welfare. To the extent the City will be providing police and fire services, recreation facilities and programs and streets maintenance, DeKalb County will have reduced expenditures for those services.
  5. If commercial property (Suburban Plaza) is annexed, but residential is not, how will the taxes of DeKalb County residents be effected? How will the lost commercial taxes be recovered/accounted for?See response to question number twenty. The City will take on provision of services and DeKalb County will not have the cost of providing those services.
  6. Where will existing students go to school?A specific school attendance plan has not been developed.
  7. Will the effected commercial property owners be officially notified that their properties are being annexed?It is likely that if a property is in a proposed area to be annexed using local legislation, all property owners would have to be notified.
  8. Will they be informed about the effect on their taxes or level of services?It would be the City’s intent to provide information or links to information that allowed property owners to determine any additional property tax burden and identify level of services enhancements.

Some text of this web-site was used with permission from http://annexmenot.com.

Mayor Jim Baskett, City of Decatur

Kecia Cunningham, City of Decatur City Commission

Fred Boykin, City of Decatur City Commission

Patti Garrett, City of Decatur City Commission

Scott Drake, City of Decatur City Commission

Peggy Merriss, City Manager

City of Decatur Mother, black, upper middle class mistaken for the help

By Nicki Salcedo Decaturish http://www.decaturish.com/2014/08/intersections-whitening-blackening/ this is a great article and please read all the comments. This is exactly what I’ve been saying, but Nicki does it with flair and humor. As a high income earner of color she drops her child off at daycare and  a few of the white mothers mistake her for the help. This happens to blacks in positions of power every day.

 

 

 

 

 

City of Decatur, City of Lakeside, City of Briarcliff,City of Decatur Master Annexation Plan, Peggy Merriss, Mayor Basket, City of Decatur GA, City Schools of Decatur