Tag Archives: COVEReport

COVE Report – January 30, 2017




Houston Mill Road Water Line will be Reconnected and Flushed: January 31, 2017


A notice was provided by the CDC indicating DeKalb County will reconnect and flush a water line on Houston Mill Road Tuesday, January 31, 2017. The work could discolor water or impact water pressure.

Victoria Estates Public Safety Meeting – February 9, 7:00 pm @ 961 Castle Falls Dr.

How will Victoria Estates be impacted by Atlanta’s annexation of Emory University? Will we continue to be served by the closest fire station on Clifton? Changed borders have resulted in some confusion between the County and cities and extreme delays in 911 responses. Does DeKalb county have plans to address this for our neighborhood?

These are some of the questions to be asked of the county’s chief operating officer for public safety, Cedric Alexander. He has agreed to meet with Victoria neighbors to address these important concerns.
Thank you to COVE board members Martha Pacini for arranging the meeting and Barbara Zehnbauer for agreeing to host at her home. This meeting is open to Victoria Estates residents and COVE guests.

Dr. Cedric L. Alexander serves as the county’s deputy chief operating officer for public safety.
Prior to joining DeKalb County, Dr. Alexander was the Federal Security Director for the Transportation Security Administration, United States Department of Homeland Security at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. His responsibilities included the coordination and oversight of all security and regulatory actions. He served as Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services; Chief of Police in the Rochester Police Department; and held several leadership roles at the University of Rochester Department of Psychiatry in New York. Dr. Alexander began his law enforcement career in 1977 and served with the Miami-Dade Police Department, and was a law enforcement officer in Florida for 15 years.

Property Owner at 1840 Mason Mill Jailed Over Signage

January 22, 2017 – Reposted from the Mason Mill Civic Association

The judge found the property owner at 1840 Mason Mill guilty on 10 code violations.

He sentenced the property owner to one week in the County jail, starting immediately.

Upon returning to his property the owner is on probation for 60 months. As a special condition of his probation, he is not to violate the code ordinance dealing with signage in any way (including content). If he does, he will be put in jail again, and each time he is returned to jail, the amount of time will be increased, so that after spending 4 months in jail, the property owner will have to serve the remainder of the 60 months in jail. He also assessed a $10,000 fine to be paid over 60 months. This fine will be suspended $1,000 for every 6-month period the owner remains in compliance. (This is based on notes taken at the trial. We hope to obtain a written order from the Court soon.)

We have included below the neighborhood statement presented during the sentencing phase of the trial. Many thanks to the 20+ residents who showed up in the courtroom. We appreciate your support.

I believe the solicitor has provided you with Victim Impact Statements from the neighborhood civic association and property owners near Mr. Avery.

As you consider sentencing Mr. Avery, I hope you will review those statements and consider that our neighborhood has endured his signage and disrespectful behavior for the past six years. Through his signage, behaviors, emails and blogs he has shown us contempt, vilified our leaders and threatened our neighborhood. We do not come before you in a capricious or light-hearted manner, but with a heavy heart. We can no longer deal with our neighbor by ourselves. We need your help. And so does he.

Since this is a code violation trial, our view is this:
When people choose to become property owners in DeKalb County, they inherently assume the responsibility of living within the rules and regulations of the county, as expressed in the DeKalb Code of Ordinances.

This code sets forth just the minimum standards that we as property owners are expected to follow for property use and health and safety issues, and the minimum standards that we expect our neighbors to follow. Even if, as in the case of Mr. Avery, we become angry at county government, community institutions such as churches and academic institutions, or our neighbors, we are expected to adhere to these ordinances and conduct our behavior accordingly.

For the past six years, Mr. Avery has violated the code continuously, to the detriment of our neighborhood. His signage and behaviors have had a negative impact on our residents’ property values and our emotional health, as described in the impact statements. Moreover, he has flaunted his complete disregard for our neighborhood and the justice system of this county by continually mounting an excessive number of signs and inflatables on a daily basis, in spite of receiving numerous citations.

His blog and emails suggest that he finds all of this humorous and that he is “playing” a game with us. Well, we do not view his sadistic and antagonistic behavior as a game; nor do we find it humorous.
We ask that the Court sentence Mr. Avery in such a manner that will ensure his adherence to the code and protect our neighborhood. We also ask for a sentence that will guarantee his facing more serious consequences if he continues to violate the code and threaten our residents.

DeKalb County Comprehensive Plan Update for 2016

Carl Lange
On January 24, the DeKalb County Commission agreed to defer voting on an update to the county’s long-term land use plan to its next meeting on the morning of February 14.
Mason Mill Civic Association president Mary Hinkle, who has been tracking this closely, was unable to attend. I spoke for her and COVE at the meeting, requesting a deferral. Final versions of this important document were not updated till the morning of the meeting, not providing sufficient time for review. My approximate comments to the commission:
– We remain concerned that the land use designation for the Toco Hills shopping center is not in alignment with the wishes of the surrounding communities.
– I’d also like to thank the work that staff has done in updating the plan. However, in the most recent publicly available 2035 Comprehensive Plan Update, Toco Hills continues to be designated as a town center.
– The community expressed its desire for Toco Hills to be a neighborhood center as was previously agreed to in the North Druid Hills LCI study.
– This has been a repeated requested that we feel still has not been clearly addressed. We have noted a small area plan designation on page 98 of the latest 2035 Comprehensive Plan which designates specific Land Use Development Policy Guidelines for Toco Hills. This addresses some issues but still contains higher density standards than neighborhood centers allow.
– Until the implementation of the North Druid Hills LCI is accomplished, we request written assurances that any development in Toco Hills will not exceed neighborhood center requirements in density and land use.
– If these assurances cannot be sufficiently provided, we request that approval of the Comprehensive plan be deferred.
– Additionally, we request sufficient time now and in the future to review these important impacts to our neighborhoods. Receiving a final version of the plan with significant revisions the morning of the meeting is unacceptable, providing insufficient opportunity for neighborhood evaluation and input.

The updated plan is located here:

New Proposal Would Restore Emory’s Briarcliff Mansion

The State Properties Commission approved the plans for renovating the Briarcliff (Candler) Mansion on Emory’s Briarcliff campus, into a boutique hotel. Once this exciting restoration is completed (anticipated to be in late 2018), it will be a wonderful amenity for our community.
Here is a link to an article posted in the Emory Report with old photos of the Mansion along with plans for the new hotel. http://news.emory.edu/stories/2016/12/er_briarcliff_mansion_renovation/campus.html

First Annual Report of the DeKalb County Ethics Officer

County ethics officer Stacey Kalberman has issued her first annual report, as required by the county’s ethics code. The report describes the activities of the ethics officer and reports on the “ethical health of DeKalb County.”

The four-page report can be found at: Annual-Report-of-Ethics-Officer-2017

DeKalb Tennis Center Open House – February 11, 11 am – 3pm

DeKalb County Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs Tennis Center under New Management

DeKalb County Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs and AGAPE Tennis Academy will host an event to celebrate new management at DeKalb Tennis Center on Saturday, Feb. 11, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., located at 1400 McConnell Drive, Decatur.

The event will include entertainment, drills, games, food, tours, giveaways and more. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn more about parks and natural resources that are available in their community.

For more information, contact Amy Pazahanick at 678-333-5934.

DeKalb Tax Commissioner Reminds Local Residents to File for Basic Homestead, Senior & Disability Exemptions

DeKalb County Tax Commissioner, Irvin J. Johnson, would like to remind all DeKalb County taxpayers who owned and resided in their property on January 1, 2017 that they may qualify for a basic homestead exemption. The homestead exemption, which provides a significant tax savings to homeowners, must be applied for in person, by mail or via the Internet as exemptions are not automatically granted. Please note, that no company to include mortgage companies may file applications on behalf of property owners. Also, by law, exemptions are not available for rental or commercial property and there is never a fee to file.

In addition to the basic homestead exemption, there are special exemptions for citizens 62 years of age and older. Eligibility is determined only by application based on age and total household income. Special exemptions are also available for citizens that are deemed totally and permanently disabled. Applicants for senior or disability exemptions must visit one of the Tax Commissioner’s office locations in person so that specific circumstances and required documentation (2016 State & Federal income tax returns, proof of age and proof of disability status), are reviewed for eligibility.

Residents are reminded that application must be received by April 3, 2017 in order for the exemption to be granted on 2017 annual property taxes. Although applications are accepted year round, any approved application received after the April 3rd deadline will be granted for the 2018 tax year.

Residents are encouraged to visit the website at www.dekalbcountyga.gov/taxcommissioner with questions. You may also call 404-298-4000 or email proptax@dekalbcountyga.gov for assistance.

If your community or civic organization would like to schedule a representative from the Tax Commissioner Office to speak at an event regarding exemption options, please feel free to reach the office at any of the contacts noted above.

Tax Commissioner Office Locations:

Central: 4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 100, Decatur 30032 – across from the DeKalb County Jail
North: 1358 Dresden Drive, NE, Atlanta 30319 – 2 blocks east of Brookhaven Marta Station
South: 2801 Candler Road, Suite 66, Decatur 30034 – The Gallery @ South DeKalb Mall by Macy’s

DeKalb County 24-Hour Tag Renewal Kiosk

Town Hall Meeting – February 9, 6:30 pm

State Senator Elena Parent will be joined by State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver in a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, February 9th, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central DeKalb Senior Center, 1346 McConnell Drive. This is your opportunity to learn about what’s happening during this year’s state legislative session.

Senator Elena Parent Newsletter

January 9th marked the opening of this year’s legislative session, which lasts 40 legislative days.
What’s on tap for this session? Read on…
Welcome to the Parent Press, Senator Elena Parent’s newsletter. January 9th marked the opening of this year’s legislative session, which lasts 40 legislative days.
What’s on tap for this session? Read on…
Did you know Georgia has the fewest competitive legislative races in the nation, despite being an increasingly competitive state from a partisan perspective? Did you know that legislators get to draw their own districts, which allows them to pick the people who vote for them and intentionally disadvantage voters from the minority party?
That’s the process we call “redistricting” and I’ve got a plan to fix it by turning the once-every-decade process of drawing legislative districts over to an independent commission less influenced by partisan politics. Until we have more fair districts, the extreme polarization and gridlock we see in our governments will continue. Check out more details in this news article.

Campus Carry!
It’s coming back. Even though poll after poll show that Georgians (including the Governor) don’t want it, Republicans announced plans to push for it again this session.

I’ll share the bill with you as soon as it is filed, but I plan to fight against just like I did last year — with success. (You can watch my speech – just click the photo.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QDMSwIP1h8

Women’s March on Washington!

I had the honor and distinct pleasure of attending the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, where I marched with my mother, sisters, cousins, many friends and over 500,000 other people determined to make our voices heard that we oppose the new administration’s divisive rhetoric and “alternative facts.” In Atlanta, 63,000 marched, including many of you. This outpouring was cathartic and inspiring; now that the world is watching, we need to stay involved and make a difference. See below for ways to do so.
Legal, but predatory, loans ripple across Georgia
There is a current practice in Georgia where companies send out checks to people they know are in financial distress, and when they cash that check that are stuck in a high-interest loan contract that they can’t pay back. It is totally legal. Find out more in this television report.
I have a plan to fix this problem. Watch this space.
What You Can Do.
Information is power. Empower your friends by sending them this update! Just click here! Forward
Want to get the latest on what’s happening at the Capitol? Attend my town hall, details below.
Town Hall!
Want to find out more about what’s going on this session? Come to my Town Hall! Here’s all the info:
When: Thursday, February 9th, from 6:30-8:00 PM
Where: Central DeKalb Senior Center, 1346 McConnell Dr, Decatur, GA 30033, USA (map)
We need your input, your thoughts, and your ideas! Please contact us at our office at the Capitol, by phone, or by email.
Elena Parent

Representative Mary Margaret Oliver Newsletter

…Before discussing this week’s activities, however, please tell me how you would vote on legislation to allow casino gambling in Georgia–survey below….

Dear Friends,

We have completed eight days of the 2017 General Assembly Session, 20% of our 40 days, and the House has passed only one bill—HB 43, the Supplemental Budget amending this Fiscal Year Budget that ends June 30, 2017. Below is a discussion of this important legislation.

Before discussing this week’s activities, however, please tell me how you would vote on legislation to allow casino gambling in Georgia–survey below. Legislation to allow casino gambling, which requires a constitutional amendment and a 2/3 vote of both chambers was introduced this week in the Senate, SB 79, to allow casinos in two areas of Georgia–Atlanta, and one other unnamed area, presumed to be Savannah. Proceeds would go exclusively to fund HOPE scholarships and Pre-K, the same limitations as the current lottery.

If revenues raised from casino gambling would only fund HOPE and Pre-K education, would you be in favor of allowing casino gambling in Georgia?

Click here to take survey


With friends, on last Saturday, I joined 60 thousand plus other Georgians on a march from the Civil Rights Museum to the Capitol for social justice! I most enjoyed the signs and the families with children marching together.

On a daily basis I am approached by citizens who express their wishes to be more involved in politics, and you are all welcome. We particularly need help under the Gold Dome–come visit please!

Supplemental Budget Highlights

HB 43 passed the House on January 26 to amend the current state budget by adding $606.2 million in additional revenue or 2.5% over the original 2017 budget passed in the 2016 Session. The total appropriation for this year is now $24.3 billion. The new revenue includes fully funding our reserve funds, and $108.9 million for enrollment growth of almost 12,000 additional k-12 school children, a .68% growth rate statewide.

Additional funds will be added to the Governor’s Emergency Funds for south Georgia storm damage and litigation fees for the water wars with Florida. Many other agencies receive additional funds for services that faced unplanned or extraordinary needs, such as waste cleanup, or to expand health care programs for the telehealth network or trauma centers. The complete budget additions and cuts are set out in detail in HB 43, here. These highlight links here and here might

MMO New Bills

HB 86 is requested by DFCS based on a federal mandate to add a definition of Sexually Trafficked minors to a category of child abuse investigations. The federal government has appropriated $100 million for services for these victims and requires that the states provide additional data to receive this money.

HB 126 sets out a new composition and confidentiality requirements for the Judicial Qualifications Commission that the American Bar Association proposes for the reconstituted JQC favorably approved by the voters on November 8.

DeKalb County has requested that I introduce again legislation relating to the pension legacy issues created by incorporation of new cities. More to come on this complex financial and actuarial issue.

Hearings are currently tentatively scheduled for HB 52 and 53, described in an earlier newsletter. Stay tuned for progress reports on these bills, and HB 10 that bans assault type weapons and high capacity magazines and cop killer bullets.

State of Judiciary

Chief Justice Harris Hines gave the State of the Judiciary report this week to a joint session of the House and Senate. Highlights include his review of his 16 years of service chairing the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Commission on Children. Representative Wendall Willard and I are the House appointees to this Commission which has led the state in child welfare reforms — thank you Justice Hines, who will be replaced as Chair of the Commission by Justice David Nahmias.

There are currently 139 Accountability Courts, funded as part of Governor Deal’s Criminal Justice Reform, and additional proposals are coming forth this year to reduce the number of Georgia citizens on criminal probation. Georgia has 6 times the number of citizens supervised by probation services than other states–inefficient use of tax money, that should focus on a smaller number of more dangerous offenders.

Activities this week and Next–join us!

This week I joined this Emory Lavista Parents Council

the Greater Presbyterians Advocacy group
medical residents from Emory and Grady
the DeKalb County CEO Mike Thurmond and Commissioners, and many others. They all are part of the public discussion under the Dome.

Coming up are the following events:

Every Monday the DeKalb delegation meets at noon, in Room 230 of the Capitol, with guests and an agenda. Local legislation is presented and discussed. All are welcome to come.

February 1, Glenn Memorial Wednesday night Supper for the annual legislative report from me and Senator Elena Parent. 6:30, Fellowship Hall.

February 2, Room 406 CLOB, Tentative hearing scheduled for my HB 53 which expands the jurisdiction of Juvenile Courts to include minors age 17.

February 7, CASA day at the Capitol, Freight Room, noon.

February 9, I am joining Senator Elena Parent for a Town Hall meeting, 6:30 pm, DeKalb Senior Citizens Center, 1346 McConnell Dr., Decatur.

Please contact me anytime with your questions or comments and visit our website at the link below and follow me on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the links below. I look forward to working with you during the 2017 Georgia General Assembly, and I need your help and your support!! In the meantime, I will continue to report on issues that may interest you, and welcome your suggestions on how this newsletter may better serve you.

Mary Margaret
Law Office (404) 377-0485
Legislative Office (404) 656-0265

COVE Report – October 18, 2016

COVEReport logo2




Mason Mill Civic Association – Fall Picnic for All Area Neighbors


Sunday, October 23, 2016*
4:30 – 6:30 pm, W. D. Thomson Park Pavilion
The tradition continues: our semi-annual neighborhood picnic!

We are hoping for perfect fall weather and expect lots of good food. The MMCA Social Committee will be grilling hamburgers, veggie burgers and hot dogs, and supplying drinks, ice, plates, cups and plastic ware. Please bring a favorite main or side dish or dessert to share with your neighbors. Bring enough for 8-10 people. (Don’t forget a serving utensil!) Also, bring folding chairs, tables or blankets and any kind of toys for the kids.
* Any postponement due to rain will be posted on the picnic pavilion and via nextdoor.com. Your donations help defray picnic costs! A jar will be on the sign-in table. If you are attending, please rsvp to civicassn@masonmill.org. Hope to see you there!

2016 General/Special Election – Advance Voting Has Begun

voteSample Ballot

Click here for Victoria Estates residents: 2016-general-ballot
In addition to races, there are four proposed constitutional amendments, and a special vote concerning homestead exemptions.

Click here for My Voter Page with Sample Ballots

Some Advance Voting Locations

10/31 – 11/4 (7:00 am – 7:00 pm)
330 W Ponce de Leon Ave
Decatur, GA 30030

10/31 – 11/4 (7:00 am – 7:00 pm)
4362 Peachtree Rd, NE
Brookhaven, GA 30319

10/17 – 10/22 (7:00 am – 7:00 pm)
10/24 – 10/29 (7:00 am – 7:00 pm)
10/30 (12:00 pm – 5:00 pm)
10/31 – 11/4 (7:00 am – 7:00 pm)
4380 Memorial Drive
Decatur, GA 30032

General/Special Election

November 8, 2016
ATLANTA, GA, 30329 – 0000
Election Day precinct hours are 7:00 am – 7:00 pm.

Proposed Georgia Constitutional Amendments


Amendment 1

Provides greater flexibility and state accountability to fix failing schools through increasing community involvement.
Senate Resolution No. 287 Act No. 309 Ga. L. 2015, p. 1498 “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance?”

Amendment 2

Authorizes penalties for sexual exploitation and assessments on adult entertainment to fund child victims’ services.
Senate Resolution No. 7 Act No. 306 Ga. L. 2015, p. 1497 “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow additional penalties for criminal cases in which a person is adjudged guilty of keeping a place of prostitution, pimping, pandering, pandering by compulsion, solicitation of sodomy, masturbation for hire, trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, or sexual exploitation of children and to allow assessments on adult entertainment establishments to fund the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund to pay for care and rehabilitative and social services for individuals in this state who have been or may be sexually exploited?

Amendment 3

Reforms and reestablishes the Judicial Qualifications Commission and provides for its composition, governance, and powers.
House Resolution No. 1113 Act No. 537 Ga. L. 2016, p. 896 “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to abolish the existing Judicial Qualifications Commission; require the General Assembly to create and provide by general law for the composition, manner of appointment, and governance of a new Judicial Qualifications Commission, with such commission having the power to discipline, remove, and cause involuntary retirement of judges; require the Judicial Qualifications Commission to have procedures that provide for due process of law and review by the Supreme Court of its advisory opinions; and allow the Judicial Qualifications Commission to be open to the public in some manner?”

Amendment 4

Dedicates revenue from existing taxes on fireworks to trauma care, fire services, and public safety.

Senate Resolution No. 558 Act No. 530 Ga. L. 2016, p. 895 “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the proceeds of excise taxes on the sale of fireworks or consumer fireworks be dedicated to the funding of trauma care, firefighter equipping and training, and local public safety purposes?” DEKALB COUNTY SPECIAL ELECTIONS YES NO DeKalb County Homestead Exemption Act 264, House Bill 596 (Vote for One) “Shall the Act be approved which amends the homestead exemption from DeKalb County ad valorem taxes for county purposes in an amount equal to the amount by which the current year assessed value of a homestead exceeds the base year assessed value of such homestead by extending the time limitation on such exemption?”

DeKalb County Special Election

DeKalb County Homestead Exemption Act 264, House Bill 596
Shall the Act be approved which amends the homestead exemption from DeKalb County ad valorem taxes for county purposes in an amount equal to the amount by which the current year assessed value of a homestead exceeds the base year assessed value of such homestead by extending the time limitation on such exemption?

Our Representatives’ Statements Concerning the Ballot:

gannon raderelena_parent

Amendment 1

Commissioner Kathie Gannon – “This amendment would allow the state to manage schools that have been deemed as failing, based upon their College and Career Ready Performance Index score. These schools would be shut down or placed under a statewide opportunity district overseen by a governor-appointed Superintendent.”

Senator Elena Parent – “Summary: Amendment 1 is a constitutional amendment that would allow the General Assembly to authorize the establishment of an Opportunity School District (OSD) to provide for state interventions for low-performing schools.

Governance: The OSD Superintendent, who is appointed by the Governor, is granted broad power and flexibility to waive State BoE rules, regulations, policies, and procedures for OSD schools with the ultimate goal of improving academic performance. The OSD Superintendent has the authority to select, approve, or remove the school principal for schools in the opportunity district and governing board members for opportunity which become OSD charters.

Structure: The proposal authorizes the OSD to take over up to 20 schools a year with a cap of 100 schools total. OSD schools will remain in the district for at least five years but no more than 10. If an opportunity school or OSD charter earns above an F on the relevant criteria for three consecutive years, the school will be removed from the OSD or no longer subject to OSD oversight.

Powers: The OSD director can take one of four steps regarding a struggling school: (1) direct management, (2) shared governance, (3) conversion to a charter school or (4) closure. Any teacher who is not hired on at their school post-OSD takeover remains an employee of the local school district and the district may determine whether or not to keep employing the teacher.

Elena’s Opinion:
I voted against the Opportunity School District and plan to vote no. While the goal of improving failing schools is laudable and I believe that Governor Deal is well-intentioned, the appointment of a superintendent who is unaccountable to taxpayers and parents is not a recipe for success. There is no specific plan delineated as to how the failing schools would be turned around. This, when coupled with the lack of accountability, is worrisome. We do need to turn around our struggling schools, but state leaders should be following proven, research-based methods of doing so rather than chasing the “state-takeover” fad that has taken root in some nearby states. There are no quick fixes and this “solution” does not provide a long-term plan for improving education in Georgia for all our kids, which is what we need to do.
There are theoretically some pros. There is a chance good reforms could emerge at the school level. These could be positive. We just don’t know, because there is no specific plan for voters to count on. (In the other extreme, there is no prohibition on the use of for-profit charter managers, for example.)

The biggest pro that I see is that the threat of state takeover and the loss of associated local school dollars could motivate some local school boards to implement reforms that have not occurred due to lack of motivation or politics. However, I believe that there are other, better ways to accomplish that goal. To begin with, current law permits the State School Superintendent to exercise several of these powers.

This is a complex issue. For those who want more information, following are links to several articles:
An op-ed I wrote in Reporter Newspapers explaining my opposition to the OSD.
AJC: 7 Things to Know about Gov. Deal’s Opportunity School District
Report from pastor who attended OSD meeting with Gov. Deal
Info from group supporting OSD

Amendment 2

Commissioner Kathie Gannon – “This amendment will allow for establishing a Safe Harbor Fund for rehabilitative and support services to sexually exploited children. Taxpayers would not contribute, but would use fines from convicted sex trafficker cases and annual fees from adult entertainment industries.”

State Senator Elena Parent – Summary: Amendment 2 establishes a new Safe Harbor for the Sexually Exploited Children Fund, receiving money through $2,500 fines on convicted traffickers and an annual fee of $5,000 or 1% of annual gross revenue, whichever is greater, on adult entertainment establishments. Funds are then used to provide housing, mental care, education, job training, legal help, and child care to the victims. Convicted traffickers will also be listed on the state sex offender website.

Elena’s Opinion:
I voted for Safe Harbor and plan to vote yes. Our city and state see some of the highest levels of human trafficking in the country. I agree with the goal of ensuring that victims of child sex trafficking get the needed counseling, medical care, education, and other support services they need to live happy and healthy lives – and without raising taxes. Some feel that the fee on the adult entertainment venues is punitive or unconstitutional, but I feel that the good in this amendment strongly outweighs the bad.

Amendment 3

Commissioner Kathie Gannon – “This amendment will abolish the longstanding Judicial Qualifications Commission overseen by the judicial branch and give the authority to the general assembly. “

State Senator Elena Parent – Summary: Under current law, the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) is comprised of two judges selected by the Georgia Supreme Court, three lawyers appointed by the State Bar of Georgia and two citizens appointed by the Governor. The proposed constitutional amendment would change the appointment powers: appointments would be made by the Speaker of the House, the Lieutenant Governor and the Governor. The public will now be denied access to a judge’s disciplinary hearing before the JQC for the first time.

Elena’s Opinion:
I am strongly against Amendment 3 and will vote no. This amendment eliminates the JQC as an independent constitutional entity and puts political appointments in its place. As such, it makes the oversight of our judiciary less democratic and more political. And indeed, it appears that at least some of the impetus for the passage of this Amendment is dissatisfaction with actions of the JQC by members of the Legislature, one of whom happens to be a former judge who was investigated by the JQC.

Furthermore, the Legislature’s work on this has been the reverse of thoughtful policymaking. Hearings should have been held to take testimony to determine what exactly is wrong with the system the way it is and then a solution addressing those perceived flaws should have been crafted. Instead, hearings are being held NOW to determine those things. I consider the passage of this Amendment to be mostly a political power play. This is actually all you need to know to understand why you should vote against Amendment 3.
Conducting a Google search will bring up other interesting articles, if you so choose to immerse yourself further.

Amendment 4

Commissioner Kathie Gannon – “This amendment would support moving tax revenue from the sale of fireworks to trauma care, fire protection services and fire safety. 5% of the tax revenue would be allotted to local governments to support 911 services.”

State Senator Elena Parent – Summary: Amendment 4 will dedicate the proceeds from a general excise tax on fireworks to support funding for fire protection services, trauma care and public safety. The intent of the amendment is to establish a permanent revenue source that may not be diverted by the legislature without repeal of this amendment by the people.

Elena’s Opinion:
I will vote yes for this amendment. If passed, this creates a permanent fund for trauma care, fire safety and public safety, all of which are impacted by the legalization of fireworks in Georgia. The use of the excise tax for this purpose should provide a direct funding stream to ameliorate any harms created by the use of fireworks.

DeKalb County Homestead Exemption Act 264, House Bill 596

Commissioner Kathie Gannon – “In 2015, the General Assembly passed legislation to call a referendum to extend the existing Homestead Property Tax Assessment Freeze (applicable only to County taxes) until 2022. Voters wishing to extend the Homestead Property Tax Assessment Freeze until 2022 should vote yes to approve the legislation. Voters wishing to end the freeze at the end of 2016 should vote no. The freeze maintains your property value at the level set when you elected to take the freeze.”

State Senator Elena Parent – A “yes” vote will extend the existing Homestead property tax assessment freeze (applicable to County taxes only) until 2022.

Commissioner Jeff Rader – “In 2015, the DeKalb Delegation passed local legislation to call a referendum this November to extend the existing Homestead Property Tax Assessment Freeze (applicable only to County taxes) until 2022.

However, the legislation went further to stipulate that, if the voters approved separate referenda to dedicate the Homestead Option Sales Tax (HOST) exclusively to tax relief (eliminating the current 20% available for capital improvements) AND to approve a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) for capital projects (to replace the 20% HOST allocation to capital), THEN the Assessment Freeze would be TOLLED (suspended) while those taxes were in effect. The authors of the legislation have said that the wording was in error; instead of “tolled” they meant “extended”. Nevertheless the language is plain, and therefore binding. As a consequence of this error, the Board of Commissioners withdrew plans for a referendum on the HOST amendment and the SPLOST. Legislators intend to address the error in this year’s General Assembly.

All this complexity notwithstanding, voters wishing to extend the Homestead Property Tax Assessment Freeze until 2022 should vote yes to approve the legislation, or the freeze will expire at the end of 2016, exposing many homeowners to increased County property taxes

Jeff Rader”

Discussion on the Proposed GA Constitutional Amendment “Opportunity School Districts”

Become an informed voter!
Please join CINS, SEACS, and the Carver Cluster for a Round Table Discussion on the Proposed
GA Constitutional Amendment “Opportunity School Districts”
When: Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 7 – 8:30 pm
Where: The Frazer Center, 1815 S Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

If entering through the front gate from S. Ponce, take the driveway all the way up to the right to back of the property and park. Head towards the circular drive, and you should see a sign and a cracked door into the Senior Center.

What: We are hosting a community discussion with panelists representing both sides of the proposed amendment, including:
• Diane Jacobi, Public Education Advocate (substituting for Janet Kishbaugh, Director of Research and Information Services, Public Education Matters http://publiceducationmattersga.org/)
• Steven Quinn, State Outreach Manager for GergiaCAN, http://www.gacan.org/ and Field Coordinator for Students First, https://www.studentsfirst.org/georgia/wh…
• Atlanta Public Schools Board Member, District 3 Representative, Matt Westmoreland, will be on hand to answer questions about their Turnaround Strategy currently underway.
• GA House of Representatives District 59 Representative Margaret Kaiser will also be on hand to answer any questions on the proposed amendment and its history and future significance.
For more information and to become an informed voter, please see: http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-U…

Emory Annexation into Atlanta – Update


Emory University has indicated its proposed annexation into Atlanta will not occur in 2016. Victoria Estates and adjacent areas are not included in the annexation but could be impacted in regard to transportation, public safety, schools, and taxes.

The COVE board is working the following response:
• Obtain more definitive responses from officials on impacts
• Provide updates to neighbors through COVE Report
• Conduct survey of neighbors to understand concerns
• Neighborhood meeting with Atlanta, DeKalb County, and Emory representatives

While Victoria Estates is not included in the annexation, it could be annexed by petition of residents. The petition option would be available to VE only if the Emory petition is successful and Victoria Estates then has a border with Atlanta.
A collection of articles concerning annexation proposals on Decaturish

DeKalb Interim CEO, Commissioners Address Water Billing Issues with New Resolution – New Water Meter Installation Halted

DECATUR, Ga. – The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution introduced by DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May which empowers the chief financial officer (CFO) with discretion to address unusually high water bills due to billing or meter errors.

The legislation clarifies code sections 25-106(f) to specify that the CFO has the authority to make adjustments to a customer’s account for billing errors, as long as the dispute was recorded within two years of the billing error itself.

The resolution also stops the installation of the new iPerl water meters and calls for the establishment of convenient bill resolution sites around the county during the moratorium.

Another proactive step addresses excessively high bills. In these cases, Chief Operating Officer Zach Williams has directed the Utility Customer Operations Center to send out estimated bills with messaging that indicates that the county is investigating the cause of the variance. Once a high variance is detected, a work order for a water meter inspection will automatically be generated.

“Sending out estimated bills will let our customers know what is going on with their accounts in a timely manner, as well as provide a mechanism for them to pay their average amount due while we get to the root of the problem,” COO Williams said.

On Sept. 20, Interim CEO May issued a moratorium through the end of 2016 on the disconnection of residential water accounts that have been contested through the Utility Customer Operations Center.

Water customers who believe their bill is in error should notify the Utility Customer Operations Center at 774 Jordan Lane in Decatur, or call (404) 371-3000 to speak with a customer service representative. Account holders with disputed balances are required to pay their average amount due until the case is resolved, with the balance, if any, due at the time the investigation is complete.

Further, a third-party dispute process is being developed to provide customers an additional avenue to resolve their disputes. This process will be implemented during the moratorium.

There will be no water service disconnections for customers with account balances in dispute who have paid their average bill through the end of 2016.

Jeff Rader

W.D. Thomson Park Work Days Kick-Off 10/22


The 2016-2017 season of volunteer work days at W. D. Thomson Park begins on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 9a-12noon.

(And please save these dates for more fall & winter work sessions: Saturdays Nov. 12 and Dec. 10, and MLK Day Monday Jan. 16. We’ll announce our dates for February through June at a later date.)

October 22 will mark the start of the 5th year of the “Friends of Thomson Park” group. Over each of the previous 4 years, individual park lovers have contributed well over 200 person-hours of time at WDT. They’ve accomplished a great deal and had a good time at it! This year we’ll be expanding our volunteer outreach and involvement, and changing our focus to reflect having achieved most of the highest-priority goals of our initial years.

Please help make this first session of the 2016-2017 season a successful one. There are tasks for young and old, large and small. Friends will continue to remove some invasive plants, but also make preparations so that in coming months we’ll be able to relocate some heavily eroded trails, rebuild failing bridges and stairways (and add some new ones!), plant native species and install benches in some of the areas we’ve reclaimed from privet and thicket, add more signage and trail information, and much more.

As always, we’re also interested in snacks and beverages for our workers, which could be delivered to Patrick Noon in advance, if need be. Contact Patrick at

Open Streets Emory Village – October 23rd – 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm


Enjoy Oxford and N. Decatur closed to vehicular traffic from roundabout to roundabout in the Village for pedestrians, bikes and strollers. Healthy activities, good food, music, arts & crafts and science.

Some Recent Area Zoning Applications


This application has been filed with DeKalb County and will be heard by the Community Council in October before going to the Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners in November.


2312 and 2320 LaVista Rd NE, 4 1/2 acres

Edge City Properties seeks a rezoning from R-100 to RSM for 5 fee-simple detached homes and 18 attached duplex homes.


Commission District: 2 Super District: 6
18-102-04-001, 18-113-11-012, 18-113-11-137

Application of Oak Hall Companies, LLC to rezone property from R-100 (Single-Family Residential), C-2 (General Commercial), and M (Light Industrial) to RSM (Residential Small Lot Mix) to allow an 82-unit fee simple townhome development at a density of 5.74 units per acre. The property is located on the north side of North Druid Hills Road, approximately 551 feet east of Spring Creek Road, at 2369, 3352, & 3396 North Druid Hills Road, Decatur. The property has approximately 753 feet of frontage on North Druid Hills Road and contains 14.28 acres.

Additional zoning information… http://commissionerrader.com/boc-business-zoning-summary.html

DeKalb County Seeks 2017 Art Calendar Contest Entries from Elementary School Students


DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management is calling for artistic elementary students across the county to enter its 2017 Art Calendar Contest. Entries are due by Oct. 21.

The 2017 theme is “Your Water – To Know It Is to Love It.”

Artwork ideas could include conserving water; using water wisely; water/wastewater treatment; cleaning up our water resources; reducing water pollution and more.

Submitted artwork must be drawn on a landscape piece of white paper 8.5 inches tall by 11 inches wide. On the back of each entry, clearly print the artwork title; student’s name, grade level and age; school name and address; and teacher’s name, contact number and email address.

Watershed Management will honor 12 winners during a special ceremony at the Dec. 13 Board of Commissioners meeting.

For a complete set of rules or more information, visit www.dekalbwatershed.com/education.html or contact Michael O’Shield, environmental education coordinator, at (770) 724-1456 or msoshield@dekalbcountyga.gov.

COVE Report – September 12, 2016

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Emory Annexation into Atlanta








Emory University has begun the process to be annexed into the City of Atlanta. Due to the nature of Emory’s annexation (by a percentage of property method) the annexation is likely to proceed and could occur by year end. Victoria Estates and adjacent areas are not included in the annexation. Some potential impacts to Victoria Estates are transportation, public safety, schools, and taxes.

The COVE board is planning the following response:
• Obtain more definitive responses from officials on impacts
• Provide updates to neighbors through COVE Report
• Conduct survey of neighbors to understand concerns
• Neighborhood meeting with Atlanta, DeKalb County, and Emory representatives

While Victoria Estates is not included in the annexation, it could be annexed by petition of residents. The petition option would be available to VE only if the Emory petition is successful and Victoria Estates then has a border with Atlanta.

Below is a link discussing the announcement and additional information provided by Emory University.


From Emory University


Emory is beginning the process to annex into the City of Atlanta. There are several questions that have been raised regarding this annexation that Emory would like to clarify.

• It is important to note that Emory would remain in DeKalb County but would move its municipal jurisdiction from unincorporated DeKalb to the City of Atlanta in DeKalb County.

• Emory University is not asking, nor does the process require anyone else for it to change its municipal jurisdiction from unincorporated DeKalb to the City of Atlanta.

• This decision does not change school districts, since neighboring communities like Druid Hills will still be self-determining regarding annexation. Druid Hills High School would remain in unincorporated DeKalb County.

• Emory University would annex by petition to the City of Atlanta. The neighborhoods that surround Emory’s campus would not be part of this petition. Earlier news reports incorrectly stated that Emory’s petition requires 60 percent neighborhood approval.

Emory University, like neighboring communities, has been considering and evaluating annexation options for several years. Currently, Emory is beginning the process to annex its campus into the City of Atlanta. Emory’s annexation into the City of Atlanta has always been viewed as one of the most viable, long-term options and one that provides consistency and alignment relative to the University’s marketing and branding initiatives. Emory already promotes its location as Atlanta, is known internationally as being located in Atlanta, routinely recruits faculty and students to Atlanta, and has an Atlanta address and zip code. The prestige of Emory as an international university and Atlanta as a global city are inextricably linked.


COVE Annual Membership Meeting


Thank you everyone who attended the annual membership meeting. For a recap of our accomplishments here is the annual report. COVE Annual Report 2016

Membership unanimously elected new board members Jen Tipping and Barbara Zehnbauer. Tim Buchman has retired from the board. Thank you for your service! Thanks to Bobby and Joselyn Baker for hosting the meeting! The 2016/2017 COVE Board Members and Officers – Bobby Baker, Susan Bell, Pat Killingsworth, Emily Koumans, Carl Lange, Ron McCauley, Martha Pacini, Jen Tipping, David Woolf, and Barbara Zehnbauer.

Ethics Town Hall Meeting this Wednesday at 7 PM
9.12.2016 – Representative Scott Holcomb



This coming Wednesday, September 14th at 7 PM, Rep. Taylor Bennett and I are hosting a town hall meeting in Ashford Park in Brookhaven. The address is 2980 Redding Road, Atlanta 30319.

Stacey Kalberman, who was recently hired as DeKalb County’s first full-time Ethics Officer, will join us to talk about the work she is doing to educate county officials and employees on best practices and to address infractions.

The formation of the new Board of Ethics and the position that Stacey now fills are the result of an incredible amount of work by a DeKalb County task force and a task force of citizens who wanted change. Both groups came to the same conclusion: that it was critical to create this position to increase ethical standards in DeKalb County’s government.

I’m proud to have played a part in helping to make this happen. I sponsored the bill that ultimately received unanimous support in the General Assembly and approval by DeKalb citizens in a referendum last year.

Please join me and Rep. Bennett in welcoming Stacey Kalberman and learning about the critical work she and the Board of Ethics are doing.


Atlanta Cannot Keep Five Areas It Annexed


This is the AJC story about the City of Atlanta annexation of 5 Fulton areas. The annexations were disallowed on a technicality. It gives voters in the footprint of the City of South Fulton an opportunity to vote on cityhood in a referendum in November.





2016 General Election Dates


September 20, 2016
Earliest day for a registrar to mail an absentee ballot for the General Election/November Special Election.

October 11, 2016
Last day a person may register and be eligible to vote in the General Election/November Special Election /Runoff Election.

October 17, 2016
Advanced (In-Person) Voting begins for the General Election/November Special Election.

October 29, 2016
Mandatory Saturday Voting for the General Election/November Special Election.

November 8, 2016
General Election
ATLANTA, GA, 30329 – 0000
Election Day precinct hours are 7:00 am – 7:00 pm.

If you prefer to vote off-site, mail or fax your absentee ballot application to your county registrar.
Click Here for an Absentee Ballot Application


Save the Date: Mason Mill Civic Association Fall Picnic – Sunday, October 23, 5-7 p.m. @ Thomson Park


Look for more information about this event in early October. Be sure to join your fellow Victoria Estates and Mason Mill neighbors in this annual event. We’re looking for a great turnout. The weather will be cooler and October is supposed to be the driest month in the year. Let’s hope so!



Commissioner Jeff Rader – Information on Emory Annexation



Commissioner Kathie Gannon – Newsletter


Downtown Decatur Concert Series – Saturdays in Sept. @ 7 pm, Library Events…



Senator Mary Margaret Oliver – Newsletter


100th Anniversary of national parks, Emory Annexation into City of Atlanta, Ban on Assault Type of Weapons Bill…


Property Tax Payment Update
First Installment Due Date – September 30

Irvin J. Johnson, DeKalb County Tax Commissioner, would like to remind all DeKalb County taxpayers that the due date for the first installment of 2016 real estate and personal property taxes is Friday, Sept. 30.

First installment taxes which are not received or postmarked by the Sept. 30 deadline will incur a 5 percent late payment penalty.

There are drop boxes located on the front and side of the Central Office, located at 4380 Memorial Drive in Decatur. Another convenient option is payment by electronic check or credit card at our website: www.dekalbcountyga.gov/taxcommissioner. Please note, there is a 2.35% processing fee for all credit card payments on the site, but check payments have no additional fees. Walk-in customers to the Central office, North, or South satellite offices, may pay by cash, check, debit card ($1.50 service fee) or credit card (2.35% service fee).

Property owners with questions are encouraged to visit the Tax Commissioner’s website at www.dekalbcountyga.gov/taxcommissioner, call the Tax Commissioner’s Office at 404-298-4000 or email proptax@dekalbcountyga.gov for assistance.

DeKalb County 24 Hour Tag Renewal Locations


COVE Report – July 1, 2016

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Annual Membership Meeting – Tuesday July 19, 6:30 – 7:30 pm

annual meeting2

Please mark your calendar for Citizens of Victoria Estates’ (COVE) annual membership meeting on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 6:30 – 7:30 pm, at the home of Bobby and Jocelyn Baker, 1473 Rainier Falls Dr.

The meeting will include a presentation of accomplishments, election of board members, review of budget, and next year plans.

If you are unable to attend, please consider supporting our work for Victoria Estates by becoming a member/renewing your $25 annual dues today.
1) A payment can be made by check, payable to Citizens of Victoria Estates, and mailed (or left in the mail box) to COVE, 1548 Mason Mill Rd. NE, Atlanta GA 30329.
2) Make a secure credit card or checking account payment via PayPal:
Click to donate

3) Make a secure reoccurring payment via PayPal. You’ll be billed $25 annually from the date of payment, and may cancel at any time from your PayPal account.
Click to subscribe

We look forward to seeing you on July 19!

The COVE Board Members and Officers – Bobby Baker, Susan Bell, Tim Buchman, Pat Killingsworth, Emily Koumans, Carl Lange, Ron McCauley, Martha Pacini, and David Woolf

DeKalb County General Primary and Nonpartisan Runoff Elections – Tuesday, July 26, 2016


There is a runoff for the office of tax commissioner between IRVIN J. JOHNSON and SUSANNAH SCOTT. Turnout at runoffs are typically low, so your vote has a big impact.

ATLANTA, GA, 30329 – 0000
Election Day precinct hours are 7:00 am – 7:00 pm.

ONE LOCATION ONLY: DeKalb County Voter Registration & Elections Office
4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 300 Decatur, GA 30032
404-298-4020 Phone
HOURS & TIMES OF OPERATION: Tuesday, July 5 through Friday, July 22, 2016
M-F, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Daily

If you prefer to vote off-site, mail or fax your absentee ballot application to your county registrar.
Click Here for an Absentee Ballot Application

Restricted Access on Clifton Road – July through August

clifton rd impr image






Clifton Rd Improvement project 2016

This rendering shows Clifton Road in front of Emory University Hospital’s new J wing, which is under construction

The Clifton Road Improvement Project is in full swing. This project will improve access, safety and aesthetics along Clifton Road and is slated to begin this month and continue until summer 2017.
One important aspect of the project is to construct a new, two-tiered pedestrian bridge to connect the J-wing to the current Emory University Hospital (EUH) building. This will cause some disruption to traffic on Clifton Road. Please read below for a timeline and details on this project.

EUH J-wing Bridge Facts
• Weighs approximately 150,000 pounds
• Is more than 130 feet long
• Has two levels
• Each level is about 15 feet tall
• Will replace the current EUH bridge, which will be removed in March 2017

Be prepared for lane closures during construction
EUH’s J-wing bridge construction will begin in mid-July. Please note that these dates could change based on the weather or other factors. In the event dates change, we will update you on the project plan.

• Phase 1 (July 15 – 17): Over this weekend, the two outer lanes (curbside lanes) in front of EUH will close to deliver the steel columns for the bridge. Cars will continue to have access to Clifton Road in both directions, but will be limited to the two inner lanes. No access to the hospital or clinics will be impacted with this work.
• Phase 2 (July 18 – 22): During this week, the three center lanes will be closed to construct the bridge (bridge construction will actually take place in the middle of Clifton Road). Cars will continue to have access to Clifton Road in both directions, but will be limited to the two outer lanes. Police officers will be at main intersections directing traffic to help maintain traffic flow.
• Phase 3 (July 22 – 24): Over this weekend, the bridge will be raised, resulting in restricted access along Clifton Road from Gambrell Drive to Uppergate Drive.
• Phase 4 (August – late fall 2016): Additional work will be done on the bridge. During this time, there may be a lane closure, but you will be able to use Clifton Road.

Commute Tips
Here are some tips to make your commute to Roybal Campus easier:

• During the bridge construction, there will be police officers and clearly marked directional signage to help travelers navigate the road.
• Pedestrians should only be affected a short time July 22-24 when the bridge is raised.
• If you don’t work at Roybal Campus, consider relocating or rescheduling any meetings you have July 18-24.
• If you have to come to Roybal Campus, add additional time to your trip.

Construction hauling for Clifton Road improvements will be going up Clifton and turning right on Briarcliff. If you see trucks on Biltmore, Houston Mill, Mason Mill or other cut-throughs, take a picture and send it, along with info on where it was seen, to David Payne (david.payne@emory.edu) or Betty Willis at Emory. Adherence to these routes is contractually enforceable, so Emory needs to know. The timetable for this work is to begin spring of 2017.

Want more information on the Clifton Road Improvement Project?
The CliftonStreetscape.com website will also serve as an ongoing schedule resource. Additional information can also be found on Emory Healthcare’s Clifton Campus Expansion website.

Thank You, Office of Safety, Security, and Asset Management (OSSAM)

Thomson Park Work Day This Saturday (9-noon)


If you’ve been meaning to help at Thomson Park, here’s your last chance until fall.

The 2015-2016 season of volunteer work days at W. D. Thomson Park concludes on June 25, from 9a-12noon.

There are tasks for young and old, large and small. Volunteers will continue to remove invasive plants, so that in coming months the Friends will be free to relocate trails, rebuild old bridges and stairways (and add some new ones!), plant native species and install benches in some of the areas reclaimed from privet and thicket, add more signage and trail information, and much more.

Any time you can spare will be most appreciated.

Pay Your Water Bill Online


The DeKalb County Utility Customer Operations Center has launched a new online customer portal. You can access it by visiting www.dekalbwatershed.com and clicking on the “Pay Your Water/Sewer Bill” button. In addition to allowing customers to make online payments, the user-friendly portal provides customers improved visibility of statements and payment history.

From the Mason Mill Civic Association – Code Enforcement

1840 Mason Mill

Several code violations citations have been issued by the County for 1840 Mason Mill. The violations pertain to the aggregate square footage of signage allowed on a residential lot and the distance of signs and outdoor displays from the curb line of the street. Code enforcement officers are monitoring the situation, and are well aware that the resident continues to disregard the regulations. The court date originally scheduled in June has been moved, at the resident’s request, to Tuesday, July 12th at 9:00 a.m. The case will be heard in the Magistrate’s Court located at 3630 Camp Circle, Decatur, GA 30032. We have been told that with the strengthening of the code enforcement process this past year, it is not enough for a defendant to enter a plea and pay a fine; now, no case is disposed of until the matter is finally rectified. While residents will not be called to testify at this hearing, it is important that we have a good turnout of concerned citizens in the courtroom. We will keep you posted if the date and time change.

COVE Report – June 3, 2016

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Annual Membership Meeting – Tuesday, July 19, 6:30 – 7:30 pm

annual meeting2
Please mark your calendar for Citizens of Victoria Estates’ (COVE) annual membership meeting on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 6:30 – 7:30 pm, at the home of Bobby and Jocelyn Baker, 1473 Rainier Falls Dr.

The meeting will include a presentation of accomplishments, election of board members, review of budget, and next year plans. If you are unable to attend, please consider supporting our work for Victoria Estates by becoming a member/renewing your $25 annual dues today.

1) A payment can be made by check, payable to Citizens of Victoria Estates, and mailed to COVE, 1548 Mason Mill Rd. NE, Atlanta GA 30329 (or left in the mail box).

2) Make a secure credit card or checking account payment via PayPal:
Click to donate

3) Make a secure reoccurring payment via PayPal. You’ll be billed $25 annually from the date of payment, and may cancel at any time from your PayPal account.
Click to subscribe

We look forward to seeing you on July 19!

The COVE Board Members and Officers – Bobby Baker, Susan Bell, Tim Buchman, Pat Killingsworth, Emily Koumans, Carl Lange, Ron McCauley, Martha Pacini, and David Woolf

How Would You Like Your Tax Dollars Spent? – Take the Survey Today


DeKalb County’s proposal to address the poor state of roads and other infrastructure is the addition of a Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) penny tax and restructuring of property tax relief on the November ballot. If you would like to voice your opinion on the prioritization of types of projects, please take this survey: http://dekalbcountyga.gov/splostsurvey today. Click for more

DeKalb County Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs Summer Swim Season Began May 28

swimming pool

The 2016 DeKalb County Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs swim season opened Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 28 through Friday, August 5. Select pools will remain open on weekends until Labor Day weekend, Sept. 5, 2016.

Pool patrons will have the opportunity to participate in water aerobics, swim lessons and swim leagues throughout the summer.


Browns Mill Aquatic Facility 4929 Browns Mill Rd, Lithonia, GA 30038
Hours: Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays 1 – 7 p.m.

Exchange Splash Pad 2771 Columbia Dr, Decatur, GA 30034
Hours: Monday, Wednesday- Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday and Tuesday, noon to 7 p.m.

Tobie Grant 644 Parkdale Road, Scottdale, GA 30079
Kittredge 2535 N. Druid Hills Road, Atlanta, GA 30329
*Gresham 3113 Gresham Road, Atlanta, GA 30316
*Lithonia 2501 Park Drive, Lithonia, GA 30058
Hours: Closed Mondays, open Tuesday through Saturday noon until 6 p.m.

*Kelly Cofer 4259 N. Park Dr. Tucker, GA 30084
*Midway 3181 Midway Road, Decatur, GA 30032
*Medlock 874 Gaylemont Circle, Decatur, GA 30033
Hours: Closed Tuesdays, open Monday, Wednesday Saturday noon until 6 p.m.

*Open Sundays 1 to 6 p.m.

For more information, contact Justin Blanton, Parks Program Coordinator, at (404) 371-6270.

DeKalb County seeks community input in the Development of the 2035 Comprehensive Plan

Comprehensive Plan

DeKalb County Planning & Sustainability will host two community meetings on Saturday, June 4
in an effort to obtain input on the County’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan. The meetings will take place simultaneously at Stonecrest Mall and Northlake Mall, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The project team will update citizens on the plan process, review and prioritize the list of previous plan goals, as well as identify current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and needs throughout the county.



Calendar of Events at DeKalb County Public Library

Public Library

FESTIVAL OF WRITERS – Friday, May 27-Friday, June 17

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Gallery Show
Now an annual event, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Gallery Show returns to the Decatur Library Main Lobby on Friday, May 27, 7:00-9:00 p.m. Come and see fabulous works of art and literature from some of the South’s finest writers and illustrators. The Gallery will remain on display through Friday, June 17, during library hours. Decatur Library, 215 Sycamore Street, Decatur 30030. 404.370.3070.
For more information, call 404.370.3070, ext. 2285 or visit georgiacenterforthebook.org or dekalblibrary.org.


During Library Hours
Brookhaven Library, 1242 N. Druid Hills Road. 404.848.7140.
Chamblee Library, 4115 Clairmont Road. 770.936.1380.
Clarkston Library, 951 N. Indian Creek Drive. 404.508.7175.
Covington Library, 3500 Covington Highway. 404.508.7180.
Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. 770.512.4640.
Flat Shoals Library, 4022 Flat Shoals Parkway. 404.244.4270.
Lithonia-Davidson Library, 6821 Church Street. 770.482.3820.
Northlake-Barbara Loar Library, 3772 LaVista Road 770.679.4408.
Redan-Trotti Library, 1569 Wellborn Road. 770.482.3821.
Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Library, 1282 McConnell Drive. 404.679.4404.
Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library, 5234 LaVista Road. 770.270.8234.
Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Library, 2861 Wesley Chapel Road. 404.286.6980.

DeKalb County May 24, 2016 Election Results

Voting Result_05242016

Mark Your Calendars – Runoff Election – July 26, 2016








Mason Mill Petition to Enforce Code of Ordinances Regarding Signs at 1840 Mason Mill Rd

1840 Mason Mill

A petition has been forwarded to residents of the Mason Mill neighborhood by the Mason Mill Civic Association concerning the lack of code enforcement regarding the signs at 1840 Mason Mill Rd. The petition was created to “keep pressure on the county to act in this matter and to ensure that the community’s voice is heard in upcoming meetings with county staff – and later before the hearing judge…. We are greatly disturbed by the number, design characteristics, content, and location of signs and activities in the front yard of 1840 Mason Mill Road. Many of the signs use offensive language and present distasteful, provocative and abusive content….”

COVE Report May 23, 2016

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Tuesday, May 24 – Primary and Nonpartisan General Election!


If you’re a registered voter and have not already done so, tomorrow is your opportunity to vote. To see your ballot, click on this link https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do

There are a lot of items so reviewing in advance is recommended. It includes votes on continuing the 1 penny school tax and primary candidates for DeKalb CEO and other elected officials. If you have questions on how to vote – Nextdoor.com is one way to ask your neighbors.

ATLANTA, GA, 30329 – 0000
Election Day precinct hours are 7:00 am – 7:00 pm.

Sanitation Holiday Pickup and How to Get the New Recycle Cans

recycle can

There will be no pickup for Victoria Estates on Monday, May 30 due to the Memorial Day holiday. Pickup  will be on Tuesday, May 31.

You may have noticed some of your neighbors have new 65-gallon blue recycle cans. These are identical to the green cans that you already have, except blue, and allow you to place all of your recycling together. They replace the small blue carts and blue bags. If you’d like to order one online and have it delivered to your home, follow these instructions. There is some detail, but it does save you the hassle of picking one up.

  1. Click on this link for the application. http://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/sanitation_SCSC/pdf/residential-garbage-and-recycling-roll-cart-application.pdf
  2. Enter your personal information and check the box under “Recycling roll cart” that says “65-gallon recycling roll cart”
  3. Email your application to SanitationPhase2@dekalbcountyga.gov or the mail address provided.
  4. You will then receive an email from the county with instructions to make an online $15 payment. Follow these instructions to make a payment.
  5. You will then have your new can dropped off by the county within a few weeks.

COVE Annual Membership Meeting

annual meeting2

Our annual meeting is being scheduled for the month of July. The annual meeting includes an update on activities and election of board members. Look for an announcement soon.

COVE Membership Drive


Be on the lookout for an email concerning the 2016 membership drive with a thank you note for dues paid, a request to renew your membership, or a request to join. COVE dues are $25/year/household for Victoria Estates neighbors. The email list has been updated based on the new neighborhood directory so if this is your first time receiving the COVE Report, welcome!

COVE Report – April 25, 2016

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Early Voting for May 24 Election – May 2-20

Early voting takes place on Mondays through Fridays from May 2-20. Some locations will also be open on Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15. Click here for a list of locations and their hours.

How Would You Like Your Tax Dollars Spent? – Take the Survey Today


DeKalb County’s proposal to address the poor state of roads and other infrastructure is the addition of a Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) penny tax and restructuring of property tax relief on the November ballot. If approved, infrastructure projects will be defined per a list currently being developed by a citizen committee. This list includes libraries, parks, roads, and other infrastructure projects. If you would like to voice your opinion on the prioritization of types of projects, please take this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DeKalbSPLOST2016 today.

Whether you are for or against the currently proposed tax changes, prioritization of the list can impact our area as any new funds become available in future years.

The 1-cent SPLOST to fund these projects is one of the two questions on a referendum planned for the ballot in the November General Elections for DeKalb County residents. The second question is whether to approve an Equalized HOST that applies 100% of HOST proceeds to property tax relief for general fund, unincorporated, and city taxes. In order to be enacted, both SPLOST and Equalized HOST must be approved by voters. County officials have stated this solution was proposed and passed by the state legislature to address the inequity created by a disproportionate amount of funds going to new cities with almost no new funds left for county infrastructure projects.

For more information about the proposed SPLOST tax click here http://dekalbcountyga.gov/SPLOST/ . For the list of proposed DeKalb County road resurfacing projects click here  Other project list are available at the SPLOST website.

SPLOST Citizens Advisory Committee is Wednesday, April 27, 3-5pm

The final scheduled meeting of the SPLOST Citizens Advisory Committee is Wednesday, April 27, 3-5pm in the Maloof Auditorium located at 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, Georgia 30030. In meetings with the county planning staff, citizens were strongly encouraged to provide feedback to this committee as the list it creates could determine, what, if any projects are prioritized for the Toco Hill area. There are significant improvements drafted for North Druid and Clairmont Roads. While there are no funds currently available for these projects, should SPLOST or other funds come available, they will be prioritized based on the final list to be completed prior to the November ballot. You can submit comments to the DeKalb SPLOST Citizen Advisory Committee at splostcomments@dekalbcountyga.gov

DeKalb County 2035 Comprehensive Plan Update – Thursday, 4/28, 6:30 p.m

master plan

The N. Druid Hills LCI will now be part of the discussion occurring with the planning associated with the 2035 DeKalb County Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Department is hosting a kick off meeting for this planning process on April 28th at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive in Decatur. For more information on the N. Druid Hills LCI click here 


Semiannual Household Hazardous Waste Event – Saturday, 4/30, 8-noon

Event participants will have an opportunity to responsibly dispose of dangerous household chemicals that are no longer of use. Hazardous materials, such as aerosols, batteries, adhesives, flammables, lawn care products, fluorescent light bulbs, photo chemicals, artist supplies, household cleaning supplies, and paint and paint-related products, will be accepted.

Where: DeKalb County Sanitation Division’s Central Transfer Station, 3720 Leroy Scott Drive, Decatur, GA 30032

Emory Commencement – Monday, 5/9 – early morning


Emory’s 2016 Commencement is on Monday, May 9. The All-Schools Central ceremony on the Quadrangle begins at 9:00 a.m. Emory is recommending that guests plan to arrive on campus by 7:00 a.m. to avoid area congestion. Plan your commutes and/or travel in and out of the neighborhood that day.

Kathie Gannon


Dear Friends,
In 2014, I convened a group of concerned citizens under the umbrella of a Blueprint to Redefine DeKalb who helped draft and advocate for reforms in DeKalb County. The resulting State legislation established an Internal Auditor, an independent Board of Ethics, Chief Ethics Officer, and revisions in our purchasing procedures to bring transparency. These reforms are beginning to take hold, but more must be done.
More recently, there have been state level attempts to change the form of government in DeKalb, but hardly any discussion with YOU about how we should replace it. The DeKalb Delegation considered but did not pass any legislation related to studying or changing DeKalb’s form of government. I believe a Charter Review Commission comprised of DeKalb citizens, and supplemented with professional advice and facilitation, is the correct next step to reform DeKalb County government. It should be DeKalb citizens that review the current government structure, consider the positives, negatives and alternative forms and recommend changes that bring about a more efficient and effective government. A strong component must be included to educate and engage the public in this effort. I am proposing a resolution creating a Citizen Charter Review Commission to the Board of Commissioners. Ultimately any proposed changes will need to be approved by the citizens through a voter referendum. Please join me in asking the Board of Commissioners to create and fund a Charter Review Commission to improve our form of government and to include a robust citizen participation process.
Thank you.

Commissioner Kathie Gannon
Office – 404-371-4909

Candidates Forum – April 30, 2016

Dekalb Strong will hold a candidate forum to allow voters to meet candidates in the DeKalb County contested local races. The event will be held on April 30, 2016 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Rehoboth Baptist Church, 2997 Lawrenceville Hwy, Tucker, GA 30084.

This is an opportunity for the community to meet multiple candidates in person, ask questions, obtain campaign materials, and share ideas, all in one location.

Dekalb Strong has invited all candidates in contested races who have provided emails in their qualification materials. http://dekalbstrong.com/events/