Announcement: COVE Annual Membership Meeting – July 22, 6:30 – 7:30 pm, 1364 Rainier Falls Dr.
We want to thank our many neighbors who have joined COVE over the past year. You are supporting our efforts to represent our neighborhood at the state, county and local level. Please renew your membership (renew/join online > Victoria_Estates_membership) so that we can continue to move the conversation forward in the areas that matter to our residents. And if you have not yet joined COVE, we could use your support now. Our annual report is here COVE Annual Report 2014.
While we believe we have accomplished a great deal over the past year, there is still much work to do to ensure that Victoria Estates is included in discussions that affect our neighborhood.
Join us for the first anniversary of the formation of Citizens of Victoria Estates—our annual meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 22 at 6:30 pm at the home of Scott and Pat Killingsworth, 1364 Rainier Falls Drive. We will be discussing our next steps both as an organization and as a neighborhood.
Would you like to be on the board or lead/participate in a committee? At the annual meeting, we will be nominating board members and committee chairs for the next year. Consider becoming a part of our effort in any way that works for you. Many hands make light the work.
As always, we welcome your suggestions and insights. Thanks, and we hope to see you on the 22nd!
Martha Pacini 404-285-7042
Current board members/ officers:
Martha Pacini – Board member / current president
Pat Killingsworth – Board member/ current vice president
Susan Bell – Treasurer
Carl Lange – Board member / current secretary
Erika Birg – Board member
Tim Buchman – Board member
David Woolf – Board member
Emily Koumans – Board member
RUN-OFF ELECTION: July 22
Voter-specific SAMPLE BALLOTS are available here: http://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/LoginPage.aspx
Candidates appearing on DeKalb County ballots:
On ALL BALLOTS: County Sheriff (Vernon Jones / Jeff Mann)
ON REPUBLICAN BALLOTS ONLY: U.S. Senate (Jack Kingston / David Perdue) State School Superintendent (Mike Buck / Richard Woods)
ON DEMOCRATIC BALLOTS ONLY: State School Superintendent (Alisha Morgan / Valarie Wilson) (per http://web.dekalbcountyga.gov/Voter/CurrentElectionInfo.html)
VE Dog Walkers Watch
July 16, 2014 – Martha Pacini
More than a dozen neighbors, including a few canine guests, gathered to enjoy Jennifer & Barry Tipping’s hospitality on Tuesday evening, July 8, while learning more about Dog Walker Watch. The Dog Walker Watch program is a national crime awareness program sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) to mobilize dog walkers to serve as “extra eyes and ears” for local law enforcement.
We learned a few new pieces of information:
• 95% of police arrests are the direct result of a citizen’s phone call;
• Call 911 whenever you see or hear something that just doesn’t seem right—the 911 center prioritizes the calls so you aren’t diverting resources from a life-threatening emergency elsewhere.
• Dog Walker Watches can be very effective because dogs must be walked every day, several times a day, rain or shine, so it’s as if you have your own neighborhood patrol.
• ALWAYS carry your cellphone with you when walking the dog so that you can snap a picture and call 911 if you see something that isn’t right.
We organized the sign-in sheets by neighborhood section, just as they are grouped in the Victoria Estates directory. Based on this, we could use some more dog walkers (or just people walkers if you walk without a pet) on the upper parts of Rainier Falls and Mason Mill. Please contact Jennifer if you are a regular walker in this section of the neighborhood.
Also, we want people entering our neighborhood to be aware that we have a Dog Walker Watch. We are ordering dog bandanas—modeled beautifully by Teddy Tipping—and car magnets (which can also adhere to metal mail boxes) with the Dog Walker Watch emblem, which cost slightly less than $5 each. If you are interested in getting a bandana (small or large, please specify which size) or car/mailbox magnet to help us promote awareness of our watchfulness (a deterrent in and of itself), please let Jennifer know so that we can order the correct number. You can pay for them once they are received.
One Special Request: Please send in pictures of you and your pet so that we can highlight our vigilant neighbors—include your name and that of your pet(s).
The handouts from the meeting—
DeKalb Public Safety Resource List – DeKalb County Police Telephone Resource List
2014 NATIONAL NIGHT OUT 2014 – August 5, 7:00 pm, 31st Annual America’s Night Out Against Crime
Bike Ride Rodeo Flyer Aug 2 – Obstacle Course, Basic Bicycle Inspection, Child I.D. Program, Food & Fun
Suspect Descriptions -What to look for to give a good suspect description…
For those who wish to send Al Fowler a thank-you email, his email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Victoria Estates Neighborhood 4th of July Party – Thanks Pat & Scott!
As for the party, we had perfect weather and a lot of fun! We had about 30 neighbors and a few children stop by (the kids really enjoyed the pool), with some new neighbors who were glad to have the opportunity to meet us all and start making themselves at home. Scott grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, we put out chips, soft drinks and essentials, and our neighbors brought some fabulous side dishes to share. We had such a good time that we are hoping to make this an annual event.
Briarcliff and Lakeside Present Joint Statement to DeKalb County Operations Task Force Atlanta, GA, July 3, 2014 (Press Release)
Two DeKalb County cityhood groups, The City of Briarcliff Initiative, and Lakeside Yes read a joint statement before the DeKalb County Operations Task Force (OTF) on Tuesday, July 2, at the Maloof Auditorium. The Operations Task Force was created by Interim CEO Lee May and is charged with making recommendations that can be forwarded to the Georgia General Assembly by December 2014.
For months both citizens and legislators have urged the two groups to communicate and work together more. Briarcliff and Lakeside have historically shared many overlapping views of cityhood, but have differed on proposed city borders. Both groups view cityhood as an opportunity to lift up the community and improve the strength of DeKalb County.
The prepared statement from the July 2nd meeting reads: Lakeside Yes Chairman Mary Kay Woodworth read, “Lakeside YES and The City of Briarcliff Initiative appreciate the invitation to present maps to the Operations Task Force. You have received our individual working maps, but we respectfully present this joint statement in lieu of focusing on a specific map.” She continues, “Both of our groups presented maps during the 2014 session of the Georgia General Assembly. However, because our current maps overlap, Lakeside and Briarcliff have agreed to collaborate with the goal of creating a unified map free of overlapping areas and respecting existing city borders and future annexation plans. We respect the compromise map between Tucker and Lakeside as the starting point of this collaboration, and we respect the inclusive approach of the Briarcliff map. We will continue to work with our sponsors, Representative Jacobs and Senator Millar, residents and business owners in our community to reach the goal of local control and governance for this community. We invite the advocates of the city of Tucker to join with us so that we can present two cities with a clear path to cityhood prior to the 2015 session of the General Assembly.”
City of Briarcliff Imitative President Allen Venet read, “We are committed to working together because we agree on almost every issue except boundaries, and boundaries can be solved. As we refine our map, we are soliciting neighborhood input, and we will work with state, county and local elected representatives of both major parties and with the existing cities of DeKalb County.”
He Continues, “We seek to unite, rather than divide, to improve government operations not just in our region of DeKalb but in the entire county. The residents of unincorporated DeKalb deserve, and with respect we demand, the opportunity to form new cities that will become destinations where business and families can flourish. The time has come for us all to cooperate, north and south, inside the perimeter and outside, city advocates and county officials. We all share DeKalb County, and we all know the challenges we face. Cities are an important part of the solution.” He concludes, “We welcome your questions and your suggestions.”
More updates from the City of Briarcliff Initiative can be found on https://www.facebook.com/briarcliffga and http://briarcliffga.org/. About City of Briarcliff Initiative: The City of Briarcliff Initiative, Inc. is a non-profit corporation chartered under the laws of the state of Georgia. The group seeks to enable residents to form a new city government in central DeKalb County that would serve all people within the community and promote the health, welfare, and safety of the general public.
Media Contact: Keith Hanks Member, Board of Directors City of Briarcliff Initiative, Inc. email@example.com
Briarcliff & Lakeside partnership means new map, city name
July 9, 2014, Atlanta Intown, Collin Kelley – Editor
When officials from the Briarcliff and Lakeside cityhood initiatives announced at the July 2 DeKalb Government Operations Task Force meeting that they were joining forces – “dating” (not married or engaged) in the words of Lakeside Chairwoman Mary Kay Woodworth – there was little detail about how the relationship would unfold. The couple’s first date was an awkward one as representatives from the merged cityhood movements spoke at the July 9 Lindbergh-LaVista Corridor Coalition (LLCC) meeting.
To carry the analogy further, it was basically The Breakfast Club – enemies thrown together in a social setting and warily talking out their differences to find common ground. Whether this will end with someone fist-pumping the air to “Don’t You Forget About Me” remains to be seen, but what is certain is that if the partnership between Briarcliff and Lakeside holds, those names will disappear and a new one will be chosen to represent the merged north DeKalb County territory. It also means going back to the drawing board and creating a new map.
At the end of this year’s Georgia legislative session, the three competing cityhood movements – Briarcliff, Lakeside and Tucker – found their efforts tabled over boundary disputes. A last minute effort to merge the Lakeside and Tucker plans was – here’s another analogy – an arranged marriage that neither side really wanted, but accepted in hopes of getting any kind of action at the capital. With the dust settled, Tucker is now on its own, there have been shifts in the behind-the-scenes players for both the Briarcliff and Lakeside movements and there is – at least in this early phase – a willingness to get this couple to the altar.
But before there are any wedding bells – or a referendum on the ballot – the combined cityhood initiatives are going to have to convince residents in both territories that the merged groups are viable and inclusive. If the mood of the members of the LLCC, a group comprised of residents from Lindridge/Martin Manor, LaVista Park and Woodland Hills, was any indication, there might be a few bumps in the road.
There was lingering bitterness from some residents in the LLCC neighborhoods who felt snubbed by Lakeside, which, as it was finally admitted, didn’t think the communities were essential to the movement. The neighborhoods joined the Briarcliff initiative, which stalled out at the Gold Dome as Lakeside and Tucker limped forward.
“What we are trying to do is consolidate two visions,” said Briarcliff spokesman Keith Hanks. “These first meetings are going to be raw things as we figure out how to work together.”
Lakeside representative Josh Kahn agreed, calling the cityhood process “messy.” Some of that messiness was the palpable tension between members of the Briarcliff movement as they tried to explain how the process would, essentially, start from scratch again. There was also uncertainty voiced about whether or not a state representative would take the newly merged cityhood movement to the Georgia Legislature for the 2015 session.
“We are two groups trying to get to one map,” Kahn said. “We are going to have to talk to people and see which neighborhoods want to be a part of it.” Going forward, there will be some kind of poll or survey taken of residents in both the old Briarcliff and Lakeside cityhood areas to determine if they still want to move forward with creating a new city and what essential services are most important to them. No timeline was set for when the poll might take place. The LLCC members were encouraged to talk to their neighbors and take the temperature of this new movement.
The couple’s next date has not been announced, but watch this space for updates.
DeKalb County Operational Task Force – July 2 Meeting
July 16, 2014 – Pat Killingsworth
CITYHOOD – Lakeside and Briarcliff are now “dating,” using the Lakeside map as the basis for further negotiations on the boundaries for a single new city (as yet unnamed). VE, Druid Hills and Emory are out, and Mason Mill remains divided. Tucker has gone back to their original map, which has a fair amount overlap with that of the new couple (“L/B”), and they have not yet been invited to the prom. Mike Jacobs made it clear that he is disappointed with Tucker for not sticking with the boundaries that they agreed to in a compromise with Lakeside at the last minute of the session, although he didn’t seem too upset that Lakeside returned to their prior map as well.
The Task Force agreed that they will consider the proposed boundaries of the new cities in their larger discussion of municipalities in DeKalb, without engaging in a debate at this meeting.
In speaking with some residents of Druid Hills after the meeting, I discovered that Emory is in serious discussions with Atlanta regarding annexation, and is appealing to Druid Hills to join them. Some residents of Druid Hills, unhappy with that prospect, yet sensing the inevitability of being municipalized in some fashion, expressed an interest in the possibility of creating a township in lieu of annexation into any city (Atlanta or Decatur). It would include Emory and surrounding neighborhoods with common interests (Mason Mill, VE and Druid Hills in particular). They want representatives from those neighborhoods and Emory to be included in the discussions.
CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN THE TASK FORCE – The CEO is hugely resistant to naming any citizen representative to the Task Force under the premise that it would make the group too “unwieldy”. Apparently his office has solicited names from the Commissioners and some Task Force members for a single appointment, but he made no promises.
Senator-elect Elena Parent insisted that members of the Task Force be allowed to name at least one citizen representative each to their subcommittee. She also brought up Commissioner Gannon’s Blueprint for a Better DeKalb, which has been actively working since February on many of the issues facing the Task Force, and which is entirely comprised of citizen leaders (myself and Martha Pacini included). She recommended that the Blueprint research and report (due in August) be included in Task Force discussions so as not to reinvent the wheel.
No comment from the CEO, other than to leave it up to the Task Force to decide how they want to deal with Parent’s proposals, if at all. He did not appear to be enthralled with either prospect.
ETHICS – This was hugely disappointing to me! GSU, which has committed to supporting the Task Force on many of the issues being discussed, is not currently planning to do any research on the structure of the Board of Ethics or the matter of ethics in government generally, deferring instead to the recent Executive Order creating the new positions of Integrity Officer and staff, whose duties include providing support to the BOE.
That order does not deal with the fundamental issues of appointment of board members or funding for their work, nor with the legal issues regarding BOE independence from any other agency. Appointment of an Internal Auditor, much less best practices, is not currently on their agenda.
Whatever the Task Force ends up addressing, Blueprint will continue to deal with those issues and present our recommendations to the Task Force, CEO, BOC and Legislative Delegation by the end of August.
Remember, those of you who cannot attend future Task Force meetings can view them on live stream on DCTV (cable only). I have attached the slide shows. Enjoy! operations_task_force (2)
Blueprint to Reform DeKalb Leadership – Letter to DeKalb Operational Task Force
To Members of the CEO’s Operational Task Force and Citizens of DeKalb:
RE: An Update on the Blueprint to Redefine DeKalb.
First, to the volunteers appointed to serve on the Interim CEO’s Operations Task Force, thank you for your time and service. As constituted the missing link to the Task Force seems to be the citizens of our communities. The Blueprint to Redefine DeKalb was launched in January 2014 as a citizens’ reform effort and perhaps our work can complement your efforts.
DeKalb County reached a ‘tipping point’ in 2013 and in 2014 matters even further deteriorated: nearly everyone now agrees that fundamental reforms are due. The attached Blueprint to Redefine DeKalb was drafted and electronically distributed in January. In February a group of citizens from across the County reached consensus on its main issues. A diverse Blueprints leadership team emerged and began focusing upon the consensus issues: Internal Auditor, Ethics, Procurement Procedures, Elections, Government Structure and HOST.
This is the Blueprint leadership team’s first Report to the Community. But first it must be noted that there has also been consensus that reform should follow some key principles:
• We need comprehensive solutions as big as our problems. Marginal adjustments will not work.
• Governmental transparency is a must. We cannot negotiate changes so fundamental and so diverse behind closed doors.
• Citizens’ voices count.
We ask the Task Force to consider all of the principles contained in the Blueprint as they move forward. Here is the progress to date:
IN THE AREA OF ETHICS
Internal Auditor: The Blueprint speaks to the need for an Internal Auditor and all that continues to happen in DeKalb County reinforces the need. Many governments use this method to provide independent, technical oversight of government procedures and operations. Best practices are available through the Institute for Internal Audits and others. A white paper is being prepared to include best practices for how an internal audit function should be established with an independent oversight structure. This white paper will be presented to the Legislature in October.
Board of Ethics: A Carl Vinson study of Ethics Commission best practices revealed that these boards should be nominated and vetted by an independent/neutral body comprised of community and business organizations. Recommendations for strengthening the Ethics Commission are being researched and will be proposed in a white paper. If legally appropriate a formal request will go to the Board of Commissioners to adopt a new process, otherwise this will be included in the October Report to the Legislature.
IN THE AREA OF OPERATIONS
Administrative Procedures: Consensus was reached specifically around Procurement procedures, which are not codified and are subject to change as solely determined by the CEO. Procedures should be vetted by the Board of Commissioners and the State, standardized and codified for accountability. This will require an adjustment to the Organizational Act by the General Assembly.
IN THE AREA OF ELECTIONS
Term limit change for local election: Many citizens believe that the power of incumbency is a major barrier to new voices participating in local government. The quality of the appointees to the Board of Education demonstrates the depth and quality of leadership available in a county of 700,000 people. Those attending the consensus meeting endorsed term-limits but it has not garnered support from elected officials. The team will request the Legislature to conduct a straw poll on term-limits. Consensus was not reached on non-partisan elections so it is being deleted from the recommendations.
IN THE AREA OF GOVERNMENTAL STRUCTURE
Apportion all of unincorporated DeKalb into equitable boundaries and Charter Commission: As noted, the “Genie” is out of the bottle with forming new cities, and there is no way to turn back. We all agree that people have the right to self-determination; the “problem” with cities is the way the state allows them to be formed. The current proposals for new cities and annexations have set off a panic. We should not form cities based upon our fears, but instead we should form them with an understanding of the benefits and costs for everyone.
The County must have a better understanding of the fiscal impacts upon unincorporated DeKalb of new cities and municipal annexations. The Blueprints effort does not have the resources to conduct such a study, and hopes the Operations Task Force will explore this issue. The motivation for new cities will remain particularly strong as long as corruption or the perception of corruption exists. We hope that our efforts to strengthen ethics, hire an internal auditor and alter the procurement policies will help abate corruption and begin to restore the public trust in DeKalb County.
There are people who question the current form of DeKalb government. A well-staffed Charter Commission, with strong citizen participation, dedicated to this specific issue is the preferable method to examine the options for DeKalb. However, it is premature to redefine County government when we don’t know what functions it will be performing. The issues of cityhood and annexation will require changes to County government that we can’t predict. A Charter Commission should be established after we understand the role of DeKalb County and any new cities being formed.
IN THE AREA OF INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING HOST
Sales Tax: HOST has been a very successful tool to reduce the burden of residential property taxes, but it fails to fund repairs and improvements to a large, aging infrastructure. The creation of new cities has further limited the viability of HOST as a source of capital funding. The larger community needs to be more informed about HOST in order to accomplish needed revisions. If the Legislature will not change the HOST formulas, as they have already done on two occasions, the Leadership Team will be recommending a long-term, two–year comprehensive approach to changing this law with public education as a focus. AGAIN, the existing cloud of corruption needs to be lifted first to restore our trust in the County government.
The Blueprints Leadership team will continue to meet this summer to research best practices and to draft recommendations to the Board of Commissioners and the DeKalb Delegation to the General Assembly. We will also be working to inform the citizens of DeKalb County. We are happy to collaborate with you in any way possible and hope that you will consider our efforts complementary to yours.
Sincerely, The Blueprints to Redefine DeKalb Leadership Team: Ted Daniel, Robert Glover, Jana Johnson, Pat Killingsworth, Beth Nathan, Brenda Pace, Martha Pacini, Calvin Sims, Gil Turman, Dan Wright
Website coming soon. July 1, 2014
Kathie Gannon Response to the DeKalb County Operational Task Force
Dear Mr. Irons and Mr. Shelton: Thank you for agreeing to co-chair the Interim CEO’s Operations Task Force. Last week, I provided members of the Task Force an update of the Blueprint to Redefine DeKalb County. It was apparent at the meeting that an explanation about the history and intent of the Blueprints effort would have been helpful. Please allow me this opportunity to provide additional information.
In 2013 before the last legislative session, I worked with CEO Ellis, Representative Mary Margaret Oliver and others to try and develop a more thoughtful approach to the process of forming new cities and enable DeKalb to understand the impact of forming new cities and annexations. In my District, which is half of the county, I was constantly asked about what is the county doing to respond to the city movement and the ethical issues that were continuing to crop up. People in the proposed city boundaries wanted more information. Their legislators were looking for a sensible way to address the issues. Also, many citizens were not in a boundary and therefore were not a part of the discussion.
The plan we advanced was for an interactive model to be developed by Georgia State University that would use the County’s GIS and tax information to create viable financial boundaries in all of unincorporated DeKalb. The data would show the economic impact as precincts moved in or out of boundaries. Professional facilitators and other methodologies would have been employed to explore County service delivery, issues and options.
When CEO Ellis was suspended the new Administration opted to not pursue this direction. At the same time I was talking to our legislators about the need for reforms to the way we appoint our Ethics Board and the inability of the Commission to fulfill the 3 year old resolution for an Internal Auditor. There was interest in helping on those issues, and the Grand Jury Report listed other reform measures.
In January I drafted the Blueprint to Redefine DeKalb as a way of “doing something” to respond to my constituents and to disseminate the many reform measures that had already been suggested. It was circulated for endorsements from citizens around the County.
There were five broad principles in that document and they are as relevant today for the Operations Task Force as they were six months ago:
• Marginal adjustments no longer suffice. We need comprehensive solutions as big as our problems.
• No one change suffices. We need approaches as multi-faceted as our problems.
• Many levels of government must be involved. The Board of Commissioners can and must play a key role, but so too must the Board of Education, the DeKalb delegation in the State Legislature, our municipalities, and our business and private sector leaders. Each must act, do so in concert, and proceed on a jointly agreed timetable.
• Governmental transparency is a must. We cannot negotiate changes so fundamental and so diverse behind closed doors.
• Citizens’ voices count.
In February, a community meeting was held to discuss the reforms in the Blueprint, find consensus on what actions to move forward and turn the process over to the citizens. From that meeting a diverse group of citizen leaders coalesced to conduct further research and advocate for the various reforms.
A major focus of the Blueprints effort is ethics. Please keep in mind this was long before stories broke in the newspaper about the misuse of P Cards by members of the Board of Commissioners. Yet, those embarrassing stories further underscore the need for addressing ethics. It is unclear to me how much work the Operations Task Force will focus on ethics, but the Blueprints effort is pursuing this issue and will recommend changes to the Delegation and the Board of Commissioners in the areas of procurement policies, internal auditor, and the proper establishment of an ethics board.
The original concept to apportion the county and provide for ways to examine problems and options was more than a citizens group could manage without a legislative mandate or funding mechanism.
In closing, I want to reiterate that the Blueprint to Redefine DeKalb was started in the fall of 2013. It includes a broad base of diverse citizens, and can hopefully complement your work. They would be happy to cooperate with the Operations Task Force. Three members of the Blueprints leadership team asked to be recommended for participation on the Task Force subcommittees. They have a proven track record and it is my hope they can be included.
It is my sincere belief that until we address the cloud of corruption that is hanging over DeKalb, no progress can be made. The demand for creating new cities will march forward. Our attempts to improve government efficiency will be stymied and our economic development strategy will not achieve the outcomes we wish for and need.
Again, thank you for your service to DeKalb County.
Kathie Gannon, Commissioner Super District 6
CC: Members of the Operations Task Force, Interim CEO May, the Blueprints Leadership Team
Kathie Gannon DeKalb County Commissioner Super District 6 404-371-4909 www.kathiegannon.com
District 5 Commissioner
Interim CEO Lee May has appointed Lisa Allen of Lithonia, attorney Rosalind Newell, and State Representative Rahn Mayo of Decatur to review candidates for the interim District 5 seat. This is to fill the vacant seat since Lee May became the interim CEO. The county reports that 20 people to date have expressed an interest in applying for the position.
The three-member panel will recommend two individuals to Lee May for consideration, from whom he will choose one to submit to the Board of Commissioners for a vote, which is expected in August.
Applicants who have filed formal requests for consideration include: Markus J. Butts, Geraldine A.Champion, Harmel Deanne Codi, Faye Coffield, Tarnisha Dent, Charles Smith Hill, S. Pierre Louis, Gina Smith Mangham, Randal Mangham, Kamau K. Mason, Melvin D. Mitchell, Angela Moore, Belinda Myers, Joscelyn C. O’Neil, Gwendolyn Peters, Kathryn T. Rice, Kenneth R. Saunders III, Jacqueline Tumbling, George Turner Jr, and Andre R. Whit.
No information has been provided regarding times or dates that the review panel might meet, or whether they will be considering citizen recommendations or concerns in their discussions.
Please contact me if you’d like copies of the candidate applications.
Commissioner Gannon Responds Concerning the Ethics Compliant Filed Against Her
In April I sponsored a Resolution to Audit all of the commission’s expenditures. None of the Commissioners are exempt, and in that spirit my budget will be the first one to be audited. That audit is already underway. Its results will be made public and given to the Ethics Board. The Ethics Board has its own process, and the complaint will proceed according to those procedures. Let me be clear: I am confident that all my budget expenditures are legitimate and in due time I will be vindicated. The charges are bogus. Please continue to follow the work being done in District 6 and DeKalb County on my website at http://www.kathiegannon.com/.
Parks Bond Advisory Committee Meeting Outcomes
Jul 10, 2014, Citizens Association Network, Beth Nathan
Last evening (July 9, 2014) there was a joint meeting of the DeKalb Parks Bond Advisory Committee and the Initiative for a Green DeKalb Advisory Council. Following an hour of RPCA staff reports on current conditions/activities vis-a-vis greenspace and parks (see below), the committees discussed their roles and responsibilities (more discussion is likely before and at the next quarterly meeting) and authored/approved unanimously a joint-committee letter to the CEO & BOC on the proposed YMCA purchase. The committees’ letter will state that the joint committees recommend against the proposal but will ask that, if the BOC wants this acquisition, they at least renegotiate the master agreement in ways that would enable all county taxpayers to benefit from the county’s investment.
From the county reports:
– This week the BOC approved acquisition for $125K of 152 acres from the Conservation Fund (which apparently gathers and holds land from estates); tax value of the parcel is/was $794K. The parcel is off Klondike Rd across from Stonecrest Library and has no deed restrictions. Parcel is referred to as “Arabia Hayden Quarry” in the July 2014 accounting of land acquisition funds. I will post that report today to the CAN website’s reference room under the parks grouping.]
-July 2014 accounting of land acquisition funds shows “prospective acquisitions” of nearly $7million “authorized/in process” from 2006 bond funds. No specifics were available but the committees were given to understand that it was likely that the BOC in Executive Session had given authorization to move ahead with this potential acquisition(s) which are likely be in the negotiations stage. Some of the 2006 bond funds were earmarked for specific projects but some of the funding was flexible.
– KaBoom playground at Fairington Park (off Panola) was completed on schedule with 150 workers from the Federal Reserve bank and significant funding from the Federal Reserve Employees Foundation. The county’s cost was approximately $30K in preparation work, trail improvement and fencing.
– Park Pride has grant workshops coming up.
– Summer day camps are serving approximately 1500 kids.
– Pools are operating normally. GRPH district swim meet is coming up at Emory.
– Family Fun Day will be held at Mason Mill Park (1340 McConnell Dr, Decatur), Saturday, July 19, noon-5pm. Free, open to public. Includes food, music, entertainment, information, games, more. [A press release was distributed which does not seem to be posted on the county’s website. Jeff Rader’s July 3 e-newsletter covered this event.]
– Brookside project off North Decatur near 285, between Rockbridge and North Decatur. The old apartment complex has been completely demolished. There is now approximately half a million dollars available for development. Park Pride (Ayanna Williams) is trying to organize a Friends group for this park.
– 5-7 million seems to be coming available from HUD, Housing and Parks to replace the Tobie Grant Rec Center with something more like what’s at Redan Park. The project could be moving by the end of the year.
Beth Nation North Briarcliff resident; parks activist; Blueprints activist
Code Enforcement Advisory Committee – Wednesday, July 24, 2014, 5:00-6:30pm
Clark Harrison Building, 330 Ponce DeLeon, downtown Decatur, in conference room A. The committee requested the following will be in attendance: Interim CEO Lee May, Gordon Burkett of Keep DeKalb Beautiful and the Director of Sanitation.