Election Day Open Thread

vote here

It’s Election Day, and you know what that means…open thread on a Tuesday!!

Are there lines at the polls?  Any issues at the precincts?  Any last minute concerns about the ballot? etc, etc…

If you don’t know where you need to vote, you can access the State’s voter webpage to pull up the address of your assigned precinct.  Happy voting Decatur!

Watch the Decatur District 1 Candidates Forum Online!

Here’s the full video from the District 1 Candidates Forum on October 12th, courtesy of the Decatur Heights Neighborhood Association.

District 1 City Commission Candidates Forum This Thursday!

Deanne sends along the info for this Thursday, Oct 12th’s District One Candidate’s Forum…

City of Decatur
District 1 (A) Commissioner
Thursday, October 12, 2017
7-8:30 PM
The Church at Decatur Heights
735 Sycamore Drive Decatur, GA 30030

Hosted by the Decatur Heights Neighborhood Association

All City of Decatur residents are invited to hear from candidates Betty Blondeau, Melissa Manrow, Tim Martin and Kelly Walsh on key topics of interest to our community.

Moderator Bill Banks is a longtime city resident and reporter covering city government for the AJC.
Don’t forget to VOTE NOVEMBER 7th!
Early voting starts October 16th
Special thanks to The Church at Decatur Heights for providing the space and event support.

Heather Tell Announces Candidacy For Decatur District 2 School Board Seat

Heather Tell’s campaign sent out this announcement…

On Friday, August 11th, Decatur resident Heather Tell announced her candidacy for the City Schools of Decatur (CSD) Board of Education. She’ll be campaigning for the District 2 seat currently held by Bernadette Seals, who is leaving the board after serving with distinction since 2007.

Heather lives in Oakhurst with her husband, Joe, and two daughters, who currently attend CSD at the 4/5 Academy at Fifth Avenue and Renfroe Middle School. She’s served the Decatur community and schools since moving to the neighborhood 15 years ago, volunteering thousands of hours in the community and classroom. During her terms on the Oakhurst Elementary and the F.AVE School Leadership Teams (SLTs), she worked on elementary school redistricting efforts, reviewed school budgets, crafted school improvement plans, and interviewed many new teachers and staff to support CSD’s growth. Heather currently serves as chairperson of F.AVE’s SLT.

“I have a track record of getting things done in our community,” Heather says. “I bring people together and build consensus around issues to move projects forward. Through my years of service in the schools, I’ve supported our teachers and staff to make our schools the best they can be. I take this responsibility very seriously and feel passionately about helping our great schools become even better. My goals for CSD include:

• Enabling every child to reach his or her highest potential, regardless of ability;
• Providing for all students an equitable and challenging education;
• Collaborating with city leadership to understand the impact of development and possible annexation on the schools, and to proactively identify innovative partnerships within the community;
• Emphasizing fiscal responsibility as we support the rapid growth of our student population;
• Encouraging the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) into the curriculum;
• Creating well rounded students through foreign language, art, music, and athletic education.”

Heather is a dedicated community advocate. She’s initiated several community service projects to improve pedestrian safety including: creating a new pedestrian path from Olympic Pl to Mead Rd, improving sidewalks and crosswalks, and improving city parks adjacent to schools and school grounds at Oakhurst and F.AVE. As Georgia Safe Routes to School representative for Oakhurst Elementary from 2011-2015, she led the school to win the Metro Atlanta Partner of the Year Award in 2015.

“My grassroots involvement in community initiatives has allowed me to develop lasting relationships with many city and CSD leaders,” Heather says. “These meaningful relationships will enable me to foster trust and goodwill with the decision makers in our community to help bring out the best in our schools and students.”

Heather has a BS in Civil Engineering and an MS in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University and professional experience in engineering, information technology, and real estate. She is currently a Realtor and top-producing agent at Atlanta Intown Real Estate Services, where she has worked since 2007.

“My professional skills and experience allow me to provide a technical perspective and analytical approach to support planning and responsible expansion of our schools,” Heather points out. “In my career, I leverage effective project management, communication, and negotiation skills. I’ve also hired and managed teams of people, and always maintain high expectations for achievement and performance. Moreover, my real estate experience is focused on the City of Decatur and nearby neighborhoods. This gives me great insight into our city’s growth trends which ultimately affect and impact our schools. My professional skills will be a great asset to CSD in setting and achieving our goals.”

For more information, check out Heather’s website at: ElectHeatherTell.org, and her Elect Heather Tell Facebook page.

Betty Blondeau Enters Race For District 1 Commissioner Seat

Betty Blondeau’s campaign sent out this announcement this morning…

Decatur native Betty Blondeau announces her candidacy for City of Decatur District 1 Commission seat, to succeed Fred Boykin, who has announced his retirement later this year, after serving in that position for more than 15 years. The election will take place in November.

“As a lifetime Decatur resident, I am committed to the continued good growth of this city where I have my roots,” says Blondeau. “I want the commission to do all it can to assure sustainable, livable development that will set Decatur apart, while preserving the character that says, ‘Decatur’.”

Over the course of her career, Betty has been an integral part of the development and success of the arts across metro Atlanta. In her roles as President of Georgia Citizens for the Arts, and Community Arts Chair of the DeKalb Junior League, she was a regular face around the Capitol in lobbying efforts to keep the arts funded at the state level.  She has served as a panelist for the City of Atlanta, Fulton County, and the State of Georgia, as well as with various arts groups.  Preserving and promoting good growth in Decatur is a natural next step.

Betty now turns her sights on public service for the city in which she lives. She was deeply involved in Good Growth DeKalb and since then has committed to taking an active role in serving Decatur’s citizens. She has experience in zoning and planning issues, serving on DeKalb’s Community Council, and was the leader of the effort to rewrite/update DeKalb’s zoning code. She’s an activist for greenspace in downtown Decatur, and citywide; she co-chaired the Woodland Gardens capital campaign, which raised $1 million to purchase additional space for the garden; and she serves on the Mary Gay House endowment board to maintain and preserve this historic structure.

“My experience on the DeKalb County Zoning Code Update and my involvement with Good Growth DeKalb has allowed me to work with neighborhood groups, developers, and staff to look at issues where creative, collaborative thinking can bring the best solutions for smart growth,” Blondeau commented. “Over and over I hear from the community the need for development that respects neighborhood concerns: traffic concerns that impact us all; a commitment to code enforcement on pedestrian safety and walkability; greenspace in downtown Decatur, as well as in the newly acquired Methodist Children’s Home property; and a stronger tree ordinance, preserving our vital tree canopy.”

“The foundation of my service is listening. I plan to solicit citizen opinions on issues at hand. I want to bring their voices and concerns to the front line, and I will listen and represent them at every turn,” says Blondeau. “I plan to stay in regular communication with my constituency through email and social media platforms, and to be completely transparent. I want their voices heard.”

Decatur’s young families keep this community thriving, and Betty knows the Decatur school system is a major drawing card for influx into the city. “Decatur schools remain at the center of a young family’s decision to choose Decatur as their home.  I know that we must work effectively with the school board to assure that this amazing education system has the resources it needs to continue to provide the best learning environment for our children.”

 Betty looks forward to meeting and listening to her constituents in the coming months and preparing to bring their concerns to the commission table.

 Please join us as Betty kicks off her campaign on August 23 at 5 pm at Woodlands Garden, 932 Scott Blvd.  For more information about Betty and her positions, please visit www.BettyForDecatur.com.

Tim Martin Announces Campaign for District 1 Commission Seat

Tim Martin’s campaign sent out this announcement this morning…

Tim Martin Announces Candidacy For District 1 Commission Seat
Local business owner seeks to build on years of dedicated community service.

Decatur, Georgia – June 26, 2017 — Local resident Tim Martin announces his candidacy for the Decatur City Commission today, seeking to serve fellow District 1 residents with his “well-rounded experience and neighbor-driven leadership.”

“I’ve done a lot of listening over the past few months,” says Martin. “Working to understand how people feel about Decatur. What they love but also the issues that concern them.”

What he heard had much in common with his own priorities and convinced him that he could be an effective voice for the community. In particular, he’s identified a number of oft-repeated issues — taming Scott Boulevard, making efficient use of city investments and resources, improving housing affordability, and promoting further livability in the city’s downtown — that, as commissioner, he plans to take on.

“We as a community share similar values,” he says. “A desire to be heard. Protecting what works and fixing what doesn’t. Working together, being responsible stewards of shared resources. These are things you can expect from me, in anything I do.”

Martin has a lengthy history of local involvement, particularly with the Rotary Club, Clairmont Presbyterian Church, and the Decatur Business Association, but cautions against making his ample resume the focus. “I’m more concerned with what those experiences and accomplishments add up to and how they reflect what I’m really about,” he says. “I’m a doer, and I’ll roll up my sleeves with anyone willing to do the same.”

Martin graduated from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in 2000 and presently runs Tim Martin Wealth Strategies, a wealth management and financial planning practice with over $50 million in Assets Under Management. He’s been a Million Dollar Roundtable® member since 2008, won the National Triple Crown Award in 2011, and has been a NAIFA-Atlanta Top Advisor Under 40 each year since 2011.

“People have entrusted me with their finances and their futures,” he says, “and I’ve worked hard to earn that trust and do right by them.”

Martin’s wife Melanie is a public school teacher with the City Schools of Decatur and both of their children attend schools in the system. “The success of public education is personal for me,” he says, “so working together in good faith with our school system to help protect and further their interests is a priority.”

“Ultimately, I’m committed to working, learning, and creating value with others to make positive and lasting contributions to the Decatur community. I look forward to meeting additional neighbors in the coming months and learning more about how I might best be of service.”

For more information about Tim and his campaign, visit timfordecatur.com.

Commission To Vote on City Millage Increase To Pay For CSD Bond and UMCH Property Upkeep

Tonight the Decatur City Commission has a pretty full agenda.

One important item to note is that they will be voting on a tentative six-tenths millage increase that equates to a bit more than $1 million in tax revenue, according to Asst. City Manager Andrea Arnold.  The city is assuming a 5% increase in the value of its tax digest.

Here’s her summary/breakdown from a memorandum from tonight’s meeting…

The proposed increase in the general fund operating millage is two-tenths of a mill which equates to about $350,000 of tax revenue.  The additional revenue is needed to support basic maintenance and operations needs for the 77-acre property on South Columbia Drive soon to be acquired by the City.  The proposed increase in the debt service fund millage is four-tenths of a mill which equates to close to $700,000.  This increase is needed in order to make the first principal debt service payment due on August 1, 2018 for the City Schools of Decatur general obligation bonds that were approved by the voters in November 2015 for capital construction.  The proposed six-tenths mill in the tax rate results in an increase of $145 for an owner of a property with a fair market value of $500,000.

Important context – In 2016, the city millage rate was decreased from 13.57 mills to 13.17 mills.