AJC: Decatur Annexation Attempt Has Died Quietly in Legislature

UPDATE:   Here’s the link on the AJC website!  Thanks Gwyneth.

Many will be interested in this snippet from the newsprint-version of today’s AJC  sent in by a reader…

AJC Decatur annexation issues lack sponsor


38 thoughts on “AJC: Decatur Annexation Attempt Has Died Quietly in Legislature”

      1. Found it:


        Annexation over for Decatur
        Decatur city manager Peggy Merriss said that potential annexation of two heavily commercial areas just outside city limits has apparently died quietly in the legislature. The city commission voted in December to pursue annexation of the Clairemont Avenue/North Decatur Road sector and the Suburban Plaza area off Church Street. But Merriss said the plan “never got a sponsor in the General Assembly.” She added that these areas have attracted multiple annexation proposals since the 1950s. Bill Banks for the AJC

        and also

        Drake wins Commission seat
        Scott Drake barely defeated Greg Coleson in a special election Tuesday night for the city commission’s District 1, Post B chair. City Clerk Janet Kindelberger said the final count was 539 to 525. Drake, 37, an interactive marketing agency employee, wins the seat held for over 20 years by longtime mayor Bill Floyd. He’ll be sworn in on April 1 and his term runs through 2015. Now the youngest commissioner, Drake’s the son of Walt Drake, a Decatur mayor in the 1970s. Bill Banks for the AJC

      2. DM- Sorry. That wasn’t a criticism. It was just been awhile since I’ve seen a newspaper clipping.

  1. Bill Banks does some of the best reporting on the City of Decatur and the CSD – he’s everywhere – politics, sports, lifestyle, but unfortunately very little of his work is on the internet. I’ve never figured out why the AJC doesn’t put these community briefs on the internet. I guess they think that maybe these little blurbs will excite someone to subscribe to the fish wrapper.

    1. It works. We still subscribe. How else do you have something to put under your shoes when polishing them? Or to use as packing material for boxes?

    2. If you subscribe to the AJC, the online content is more like the fish wrapper. It hasn’t moved me to subscribe; Im a NY Sunday Times subscriber so I have full digital access.

  2. Just an FYI there were 5 houses located on Midway that had their own little Annexation go through the other day at the City Comission meeting. A group of neighbors filed the paperwork, made a petition and were approved by the city as well as the State. I wonder if some of the areas that are now not going to get into the City (Residential ones) could use that as a possible example to do the same?

      1. Residential annexation is a problem, but not the big one. The CSD camel is struggling because of its success. Good teachers, good principals, engaged parents, strong superintendent, school board that doesn’t engage in silly infighting = everyone with young children ITP seems to want in CSD! Each residential tear down and re-build of another new house attracts more families. That’s been going on for 15 years and it’s not stopping. Both CSD and CoD need new revenue. What’s going to help? Annexation of commercial property? Nixed. Development downtown? 315 Ponce? Trinity Triangle? Callaway? Let’s hope it’s something soon or CSD will be raising millage to the max sooner than later!

        1. And based on some digging around I did a while back, even if they hit the max 25 mill cap, there are ways to raise it even higher if necessary. Again, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

          1. Please tell us more about going over 25 mills! I thought this was state limit. Can CSD get a waiver and go up? Do they have a limit? Where did you find this information?

            1. I had a conversation with the City Manager about it back in 2011. At the time she basically believed that if the issue was the millage cap, it could probably be altered by the City Commission since it’s set in the city’s charter. She wasn’t 100% sure, but that was her understanding of it at that time. I don’t know if anything has changed since then.

              You can also adjust the assessment ratio, which the millage rate is obviously based on.

              1. The school millage rate is capped at 20 mils by either the State Constitution or the Georgia Code and the assessment rate is also capped at 40% by the other of the State Constitution or the Georgia Code with the specific exemption of those above those limits at the time of passage of the relevant overarching code. The caps for the exceptional jurisdictions are at 25 mils and fifty percent.

                Let me add in a side note that the planting of money trees is not prohibited by either the Georgia Constitution or the OCGA should such a species of tree be located.

        2. When a new resident tears down an old 2 bedroom and builds a 5 bedroom mini-mansion, don’t your revenues go up?

          1. The revenues do not go up enough to cover 2 to 4 more children in the school system. If they did annexation of residential property would not be $ issue. It would still be a “is it good for Decatur” issue, though.

          2. Maybe/maybe not, but I do know that when you take a vastly underdeveloped property downtown (especially if it’s not currently on the taxes rolls, but even if it is . . .) and build multifamily housing that generally doesn’t attract families with children, plus some commercial space, your tax digest goes up by a nice chunk while your expenditures go up by just a bit. That’s the route that will alleviate the camel’s pain.

            1. I don’t disagree, but that is not the same as tearing down single family, 2 bedroom bungalows and replacing them with the 5 bedroom homes one by one by one by one…..So, I take it that you are in favor of the 315 Ponce development?

              1. Yep. Scaling up our downtown development is one of our few cards to play to help ease the tax burden on single family home owners. One of the few other cards is annexation, and well . . . here we are.

                  1. Because they live in two bedroom bungalows with only one bathroom. It’s hard to concentrate on any subject too long.

        3. I agree EcoNuke, but can we please stop with the self-inflicted wounds? It’s time for Decatur to take down the “We Will Annex” sign. Serve the constituents first. This is actually a very easy question.

      2. Judd, please tell us more about the straws.

        As for this annexation, the 5 houses are those of the 5 homeowners who sought annexation before the City’s most recent annexation review, and they’re the only ones from Area D that were recommended for approval. The County was notified and wrote back that there was no objection; it went before the Planning Commission and was recommended for approval; and at Mon’s meeting with the homeowners present, it was discussed and approved by the Commissioners. From what I recall, there were no objections raised on the blogs to these 5 homes coming in. (And from what I could tell at Mon’s meeting, the homeowners seem like very nice folks who are genuinely excited about becoming a part of our City. Welcome, new residents!)

        Annexation Options Report 12/3/12 (see II. 3. Area D):

        3/18/13 City Commission Mtg Agenda (includes related materials for consideration):

        1. Yes – welcome new citizens! Looks like everything was done correctly and there were multiple opportunities to voice opinions if anybody was against the annexation. Now that you are in, please consider donations to Decatur Education Foundation and the Decatur Bulldog Boosters!

        2. There have been at least 25 houses annexed in the last four or five years, most of them in a K-3 district with trailers. For a house to cover the average amount CSD spends for a single pupil, it would need a value of over $600,000. Now, I know that this is an oversimplified way to do the math, but no matter how you slice it these single parcel annexation are financial losers for CSD (although they are gains for the City which keeps approving them). And regardless of the finances, CSD simply doesn’t need more added on to it.

          And this is not anti-new resident. We have lots of new residents every day, and that’s great. It’s a question of policy that artificially adds on to an overcrowded system. And by the way, the CSD recommendation on annexation a few months ago was explicit: No new residential annexations. The City Commission should respect CSD’s attempt to manage itself.

          1. I should add that the CSD enrollment issue is very real and it affects all of us, whether we have kids in the system or not. I don’t think enough people are attuned to how serious it is. So I may seem a bit sensitive here.

          2. To say it is a matter of drawbridge or being unwelcoming is just turning a complete blind eye to the problems these little piecemeal annexations bring. 25 houses brings with it the potential for two or three elementary school CLASSROOMS full of children. Judd is nothing but pragmatic on this one.

    1. Hey just for thought:

      Thanks so much for sharing this; I had no idea.

      What was interesting to me was the divide between unincorporated DeKalb ppl who DID and DID NOT want to be annexed. Attractive to some and not to others. I suppose this way those who do want to be in the city for schools, police, etc. can do so bit by bit?

      Decatur Metro – something interesting to look into. I wonder how hard the process is, how many homes would be accepted at most, etc.

  3. All for schools as they add value in many ways, but if the surrounding school systems spent an equal amount per pupil as CSD they might have schools of equal quality.

    1. That’s not necessarily true. It’s also necessary to have a board and administrative staff with effective leadership and deep, unwavering commitment to ALWAYS act in the best interests of the students. There’s no denying that adequate funding is crucial and without it, no school board or administration can work miracles. But just throwing money at it isn’t enough. CSD is an exemplary system of which we can all be proud because we’ve bitten the bullet and continued to spend the money AND thanks to the quality and integrity of our school board members and our administrators.

      1. Yep. Dekalb county’s millage rate is pushing right up to the constitutional limit. The problem (or at least one of the many, many problems) is the mismanagement of the money taken in.

      2. CSD also has a group of citizens devoted to its excellence, regardless of whether they have kids in it or not. I also think the people with kids in the system are, for the most part, interested in what’s best for most kids and not just their kid.

        1. parental and community involvement in public schools is crucial, and Decatur schools have increasing amounts of both- which will only feed on the district’s success. I get frustrated with comparisons of public to private schools, when the private schools have huge advantage of requireing parental involvement. For various reasons, some very understandable some not, many schools and children across the country are not getting the parental support needed to help grow good students and good schools.

  4. I put this information up today becsuse I support this along with the pending development in our down town area. If we shut our doors we will not grow and with a good lead the city will contine to mature. I am glad that these 5 new families are in our city and they banded together to get it done!

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