City government – Decatur commissioners meet tonight
Decatur City Commissioners will meet tonight, Feb. 18, and will discuss annexation and the results of an investigation into alleged racial profiling by city police officers.
The commission meeting begins with a dinner session at 5:45 pm, followed by a work session at 6:45 pm. The regular meeting begins at 7:30 pm. Meetings are open to the public and are held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street in Decatur.
Commissioners are considering annexation petitions and eyeing adding more property to the city. There are several ongoing efforts to create new cities in DeKalb County. If these proposed cities become a reality, it could box the city in and keep Decatur from expanding its tax base. The proposed city of Briarcliff would surround the city’s northern border on all sides, taking in some commercial real estate, like the suburban plaza shopping center.
City Manager Peggy Merriss told commissioners back in December that she would present commissioners with “a project budget proposal to include professional demographic, financial, capital planning and market analysis assistance to review and analyze potential annexation options and the impacts on the community” in January.
Tonight’s meeting agenda has an item for “Annexation Master Plan Services” but the city commissioners may have to defer it to their next meeting. Last week’s snowstorm put the city behind schedule, Merriss said.
“Due to the weather, the proposal I was hoping to have today has been delayed,” Merriss said. “It would be preferable to not wait another two weeks to get started, so if it is delivered before the meeting, we will update the agenda materials. If it is not available before the meeting, consideration can be deferred.”
The groups that are behind the efforts to create the new cities of Briarcliff, Lakeside and Tucker may not be able to get their plans through the General Assembly this year. All of the proposed cities have conflicting boundaries and this year’s session of the General Assembly will be shorter due to the upcoming 2014 elections.
In addition to commercial annexations, some residents living outside the city’s boundaries have requested annexation. The largest of these is a plan that would annex 76 homes in the Parkwood neighborhood into the city limits. City commissioners accepted that a petition signed by the homeowners on Feb. 3 and is in the process of evaluating the impact the annexation would have on the city.
It’s not officially on the agenda, but commissioners expect to hear more about the results of an investigation into alleged racial profiling by city police officers. An internal investigation concluded that concerns raised by Don Denard were unfounded. Denard, who has lived in Decatur since 1981, and served on the city’s school board from 1989 to 1997, plans to challenge those findings. Denard intends to show up at the meeting and announce how he will respond. To learn more about the allegations and the results of the police department’s investigation, click here.
In addition to the discussion about the annexation plan, city commissioners will also discuss giving up giving up the city’s interest in City Schools of Decatur property. CSD is selling Certificates of Participation and will use three of its elementary schools as collateral to borrow money to expand Decatur High and Renfroe Middle. To learn more about that proposal, click here.