Rep. Howard Mosby Meeting – Recap
Twenty-five neighbors met at the home of Ron and Linda McCauley with Representative Howard Mosby, Chair, DeKalb County House Legislative Delegation on January 22. This was our third annual meeting with Rep. Mosby.
Mr. Mosby mentioned a number of bills being considered by the legislature. These included the so-call religious freedom bills, a ban on certain types of guns, criminal justice, the DeKalb County Charter, cityhood, and transportation.
Criminal justice has become a big issue due to lack of funding for training and support of mental health issues. The state’s reduction in funding for mental health issues has contributed to an increase in the homeless population.
Transportation is a big issue including access to Decatur and the Emory area. Rep. Mosby said DeKalb is uniquely positioned to provide leadership in advancing regional solutions, but has not demonstrated the political willpower. Neighbors asked about partnership opportunities with Emory and other educational, research, and health institutions to define this vision. When asked how other major cities are handling these issues, he said that they are having similar problems, with a major factor being how the state distributes funds disproportionality more to rural areas.
The current HOST tax was structured to fund both homestead exemptions and transportation expenses. With the creation of new cities, the distribution has resulted in a significant reduction in available funds for unincorporated transportation expenses. The county would like to restructure the HOST tax so that it is dedicated 100% to homestead exemptions with a new SPLOST tax dedicated to transportation.
A question was raised concerning the statewide billion-dollar transportation tax approved last year. How much of this is going to DeKalb County? Mr. Mosby said that according to the State Department of Transportation (GDOT) that DeKalb has been slow to provide a list of requested projects and does not seem focused on this priority. State revenues are up so GDOT does have more funds available for projects. When asked who is responsible, Rep. Mosby indicated the interim CEO is responsible for creating the list and submitting it to the commissioners. A neighbor suggested engaging Georgia Tech in the creation of a DeKalb County master transportation plan.
Martha Pacini reported on progress concerning regaining the turn lane at the intersection of Houston Mill and LaVista. Discussions with Intown Church, Mason Mill neighborhood, DeKalb County, and GDOT have been positive and the county needs to respond concerning a traffic study. Martha asked Rep. Mosby to assist with follow up with the county.
Rep. Mosby said there is an issue that Marta is funded by DeKalb and Fulton Counties but is acting as a regional transportation system instead. The State should have recognized this a long time ago and taken over management. A neighbor suggested expansion of an express bus service saying it has been effective in other areas and that women do not always feel comfortable riding on Marta trains.
The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is in the position to provide regional transportation leadership but is composed of political appointees which have not shown that vision. Rep. Mosby said he has not seen a regional leadership meeting on transportation. Marth Pacini suggested Mr. Mosby should lead that initiative.
The DeKalb County organizational act was not appropriately updated when the county was converted to the current CEO structure. The organizational act should be updated along with an emphasis on best practices for the county government and wholesale restructuring of some departments. The electorate needs to understand that they are electing leaders to manage a billion-dollar corporation. The right people must be elected.
Pat Killingsworth asked if new city legislation could be introduced in the final hours of the legislation? Mr. Mosby expressed his opinion that the unincorporated county delegates should have approval over other delegate’s decision to do this. Anywhere else in the state, local delegates have authority without interference from other delegates.
Mary Margaret Oliver Legislative Update
Chamblee Annexation of LaVista Hills Area
A proposal has been recently circulated to annex 30,000 residents of the formerly proposed LaVista Hills city into the City of Chamblee instead. This would double the size of Chamblee if the local bill goes forward, it is approved by the city council, and voters within the proposed annexed area approve it.
Elimination of DeKalb CEO Position
Representatives Oliver and Scott Holcomb are co-sponsoring a bill to eliminate the DeKalb County CEO form of government.
February 18 – Town Hall Meeting
February 18–Town Hall Meeting at Lakeside High School on Chamblee Annexation issues, plus other concerns. 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM.
The DeKalb delegation meets every Monday at noon, usually in Room 230 of the Capitol–always open to the public.
The Georgia Department of Transportation has indicated it is in agreement that there is a traffic issue at the intersection and that it will not require a traffic study. DeKalb County is developing a concept drawing for stakeholders to review.
Early Voting for the March 1st Presidential Primary
Voters have the opportunity to cast early ballots, Monday through Friday, until Friday, February 26. The locations and times are listed below.
• Main Office, 4380 Memorial Drive, in two separate areas; one section designed exclusively for seniors aged 70 and older, voters with disabilities, and a general voting area for all other voters – 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
• Tucker Recreation Center, 4898 LaVista Road, Tucker, GA 30084 – 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
• South Dekalb Mall – The Gallery at South DeKalb Mall, 2801 Candler Road, Decatur, GA 30034 – 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Voting is available on Saturday, February 20, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at the same locations.
There will be additional early voting locations starting Monday, February 22nd. For more information, and additional locations, please visit www.dekalbvotes.com.
Conversations with a Cop – Evening Program in Our Neighborhood
In order to better serve and protect citizens, DeKalb County Police Department’s North Central Precinct is conducting on-going Community Conversations with residents and clergy of the county. This is one of the first evening programs they’ve had. The event will be a good time to meet and greet our Precinct Command staff and ask them questions about policing in our area.
DeKalb County Sewer Assessment Begun
The DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management (DWM) has launched a comprehensive, multi-phased Priority Area Sewer Assessment and Rehabilitation Program” (PASARP) to assess and rehabilitate sewer lines throughout the county.
These activities will encompass about one-third of the DeKalb’s sewer lines. Smoke testing and other assessment activities will be conducted by contractors through January 2018.
DWM will host a series of informational community meetings focused on PASARP activities scheduled to take place in area neighborhoods.
The informational community meetings are free and local participation is encouraged.
For more information, please visit DWM’s Consent Decree website at www.dekalbconsentdecree.com. You may also call the dedicated Project Hotline at 1-800-986-1108
Park Ideas Requested for Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax (SPLOST)
The county is considering placing a half cent SPLOST on the November ballot for Capital Expenditure funding. Different departments have been told to compile lists of capital projects that need funding. The Parks Dept. has compiled a list, based on the 2010-2020 Parks Master Plan.
If you know of a parks-related need or idea (capital expense level) that is
(a) not mentioned as a project still underway using the 2006 bond funds (attached PlansFor2006Bonds) and
(b) not mentioned on the attached RPCA draft SPLOST list (attached SPLOST2016_RPCA),
please be sure that your Commissioner hears about your need/idea ASAP. Please forward this message to your local Friends group and/or parks activist.
North Briarcliff resident; parks activist
Kathie Gannon Newsletter – 2015 Year in Review
Major Rezoning Plan for Toco Hills and Mason Mill
From John Musser in Mason Mill on Nextdoor.com
In regard to all of the new yellow signs placed today along Clairmont and N Druid Hills, I have pasted the link to the “N Druid Hills LCI Plan” a detailed 200 page commissioned plan for redevelopment of this section of town, including new roads, bike lanes, trails, new parks, redevelopment of Toco Hills Shopping Center into something like the Brookhaven Costco multi-use complex, a second senior living complex, and more.
There is a Planning Commission meeting 3/1/16 at 6:30pm at the Dekalb Co Auditorium at 1300 Commerce Drive.