Sen. Parent: Dunwoody rep said he would sponsor LaVista Hills bill

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt February 25, 2015
State Rep. Tom Taylor. File photo obtained via Reporter Newspapers.

State Rep. Tom Taylor. File photo obtained via Reporter Newspapers.

The phones were buzzing down at the office of state Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Dunwoody, after a group opposed to the current cityhood process identified him as the sponsor of a bill setting a referendum on the proposed city of LaVista Hills.

The proposed city is not in Taylor’s district. Taylor has not responded to a call seeking comment about whether he intends to sponsor the legislation.

Mary Kay Woodworth of LaVista Hills Yes said that the claim is not accurate.

“We’ve been talking to many legislators in DeKalb,” she said. “Nothing is confirmed at this time.”

State Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, also has been asked to sponsor the LaVista Hills bill. Unlike Taylor, he does represent the area in question, but he recently told Decaturish he hasn’t decided whether he will introduce the legislation.

DeKalb Strong said Taylor was the sponsor in an email sent to supporters on Feb. 24.

“The legislators elected by the ‘LaVista Hills’ area have heard from their constituents that they don’t want this new city,” the email says. “So now, a legislator from elsewhere, who we are not able to vote for (or vote out of office), is making vital decisions for our area.”

DeKalb Strong President Marjorie Snook said she got this information from state Sen. Elena Parent, D-SD 42.

“Tom Taylor told that to Elena Parent at a meeting last night,” Snook said.

Decaturish asked Parent if she was the source of the information, and she said that she was.

“He told me and a number of others that, but I do not know the latest,” Parent said. “Maybe he is changing his mind.”

Maybe. The woman who answered the phones at his office sounded a flustered when she said Taylor wasn’t available for comment. She didn’t know Taylor’s position on LaVista Hills and said she’s, “Gotten many calls from DeKalb Strong this morning.”

Time is evaporating for any cityhood legislation, which has to be introduced in one chamber of the legislature by March 13, known as Crossover Day. There are currently proposals to create several new cities. In addition to LaVista Hills, there are proposals for cities of Tucker, Greenhaven and Stonecrest. No bills have been introduced on behalf of any of the new cities.

There are also proposals for annexations to expand the borders of existing cities. Decatur and Avondale Estates are pursuing their annexation plans. Another proposal, put forth by Together in Atlanta, would bring Druid Hills into the city of Atlanta. That map, which is based around the attendance zones of Briar Vista and Fernbank Elementary schools, is in conflict with a portion of the LaVista Hills map. Annexation bills can still move forward after Crossover Day, meaning they have a slightly longer legislative shelf life than cityhood.

But the likelihood of annexation bills are also in doubt. No one has introduced a bill on behalf of Decatur, Avondale or the TIA proposal. At a luncheon Monday, things got even more complicated when the DeKalb County delegation adopted rules for introducing annexation bills. While the delegation says the rules are the same as before, the rules make it clear that one representative could hold up an annexation proposal. A copy of the rules Decaturish saw at the meeting says that in addition to a simple majority, meaning the signatures of nine of 16 house members, annexation bills “shall include the signatures of all members who represent the areas concerned.”

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  • StopTakingMyMoney

    Why would a Republican legislator not even from the area want to impose yet another layer of costly government taxes? Just because the area can afford more government doesn’t mean we really want it – wouldn’t you like a shiny new car in the driveway instead of paying it to yet another politician looking for a job (or a government contract for his cronies)?

    • RAJ

      Taxes are the SAME or less in a new city. TT will only accept the LaVista Hills map approved by the HGAC so TIA is out of luck! But so is everyone outside Mary Kay’s Lakeside district. Can’t win a referendum with this map.

      • StopTakingMyMoney

        Not true. Another layer of government is simply another layer of taxes. No new services. Just more politicians dipping hands into our pockets to pay off cronies.

        • Whodean

          Sorry, but that is just plain wrong. Property taxes are lower in Dunwoody and Brookhaven than they would be if the areas were not incorporated. More services too (replacing, parks Etc.)

          • StopTakingMyMoney

            You are shifting taxes, not saving money. Big difference. Cost of government in DeKalb has gone UP! UP! UP! More government means more taxes. Can’t get around it. Stop being insular and do the math for the county as a whole.

          • whodean

            A level of responsible governance taking over certain responsibilities for an entrenched irresponsible governance saves taxpayer money. Proven in Dunwoody and Brookhaven.

          • StopTakingMyMoney

            Wish it was that easy. Creating more politicians simply creates more politicians. Then, giving them a tax base simply makes them tax more. Dunwoody is a classic example. It doubled the amount of money it needed in its first five years. Can’t help themselves falling over each other figuring out a way to spend more money. Fix DeKalb. Put the crooks in jail. Move on. It is cheaper.

          • RAJ

            Cost of graft and corruption of DeKalb County Gov has gone up,up,up with Stan Watson skimming 75K off every Water and Sewer contract and Sharon Barons Sutton paying her boyfriend for doing what?

      • Smarter Than You

        RAJ – I don’t know who the hell you are but you are WRONG on so many of your posts. Your BS examples of city advantages are arguable. It’s a no-brainer that new city halls, new admin. including mayors and staff, new zoning depts, etc. all the new duplicative government personnel ADD to the tax burden of a new city in a way that is not divided between a much larger population in a county-only governance. DUH. Simplified: it always costs more per city resident than for the same county resident. BUt you seem to conveniently forget that whatever new city is formed – residents will still be in DEKALB COUNTY, and will still be paying for the county infrastructure. You surely cannot be suggesting that Brookhaven or Dunwoody or any new city will operate independently from Dekalb County police? They currently serve as a glorified revenue stream by primarily writing traffic tickets. Brookhaven says they have 2 CSI officers but investigation facilities are from Dekalb County. Major crimes, bomb squad, helicopters, etc. – these cities will ALWAYS need to rely on Dekalb County and your answer to everything is “the corruption, the corruption” instead of realizing the interdepence of all Dekalb residents. Are you so small-minded and pessimistic to think that building a “little city wall” around your little neighborhood will make all the problems of the world go away? Just leave all those complicated insolvable problems to the heathens? I hope for a better government for ALL of Dekalb, not just my enclave. I believe that increased oversight will eventually correct the problems in Dekalb. I believe, like in other successful metropolitan areas around the country, that efficiencies in government come from consolidating governance – not from fracturing and retreating. Adding another layer of government multiplies the opportunities for corruption and inefficiency. Your arguments are emotional-based and contrary to real world examples in Georgia and around the country.

    • Mark Snyder

      Rep. Taylor is sponsoring the bill at the request of Sen. Fran Millar (also from Dunwoody). Sen. Millar’s flair for the dramatic at the end of the session last year (“I will not be back!”) damaged his credibility with some of his peers. But he does not like to lose, so he has Rep. Taylor serving as his mouthpiece. Rep. Brockway may have said the boundaries are “set in stone” but watch for Sen. Millar to ignore that when the maps get to the Senate. He is still beholden to many people such as Ms. Hanfelt who ran his petition drive so he’ll try to adjust boundaries to restore his original map.
      The endgame (and the reason Tom Taylor has a dog in the fight) is to create an independent school district for Brookhaven, Dunwoody, and LaVista Hills. Rep. Taylor has already dropped the legislation that would allow for new independent school systems. To make it financially feasible for this area, they need the population of these 3 areas.

      • RAJ

        Have not talked to Fran, but as we all know emotions run high on the city-hood issue, Fran’s, or mine, are no exception…I guess! City-hood boundaries could change in the Senate but TT told me he would have to have a look when the bill came back to the house. Special thanks for your interest Mark, I’m sure you know most of this has already been discussed, but needs to be made public. Schools are a long range issue, with both TT and FM having an interest but don’t forget about MMO. If something can be worked out to send Druid Hills High to Atlanta in three years a 140M”new” Briarcliff High School and “Sportsplex”(see Birmingham)at the corner of Briarcliff Rd and North Druid Hills Rd. would be a good fit for the new city of LaVista Hills. My design team could have something ready in about three weeks if the LaVista Hills bill moves along next week as expected. A Briarcliff Charter Cluster and a Lakeside Charter Cluster supported by city sponsored non-profits and foundations would serve as a center piece for the city of LaVista Hills and a precursor to an independent school district. Ran this by MKW a few months ago but think she was not listening to me(again)!

  • Teacher Reader

    Representative Oliver also told people that wrote her today that Representative Taylor was likely to drop the Lavista Hills bill and that he should be contacted.

    • Anna

      People should be ringing MMO’s phone off the hook, now that she’s clearly come out in favor of the hot mess that is TIA.

      • RAJ

        Can anyone say ……..Compromise!

        • whodean

          What do you predict RAJ?

        • Smarter Than You

          The best compromise would be to recognize that 98% of unincorporated Dekalb would prefer no new cities, and the 2% pushing the cityhood hysteria go ahead and move to Dunwoody.

  • Justinatl

    If Lavista hills can’t get one of our elected officials to drop their bill they really need to go away. It would be a complete JOKE to have these people no one elected push a city and then have a legislator no one elected be the sponsor. Either get one of our elected officials on board or get out. Your all free to move to rep Taylor’s district or run for office and if you win sponsor the bill later.,

    • whodean

      The people will have their say in the referendum. If Taylor sponsors presumably it will be because the other reps. refuse to allow voters to have their say.

      • Justinatl

        Then vote them out and vote yourself in someone who will sponsor a bill. That’s how the system is supposed to work. Could it be possible that the majority of people DO NOT want a city and they fear reprisal by the voters for supporting it? Regardless Taylor has no business in this area just like our reps have none in dunwoody. Shoot I’m still waiting in Levitas and Lorenz who live in my neighborhood and were each on the board of lakeside and briarcliff to even ask us neighbors if we wanted to be in the map. The fact they never had a neighborhood meeting, nor knocked on my door or handed out a survey to see what we thought makes me wonder who’s really pushing this and for what reason$$$$$$.

      • RAJ

        Tom did not want to sponsor the bill two weeks ago, but guess he is a last resort to get something to a vote. Look…we all know these metro reps so it’s not like someone from South Georgia is sponsoring this bill. Scott Holcomb may have wanted to sponsor the LaVista Hills bill to move it to a vote, but having a dem sponsor the bill would probably be the kiss of death at the polls. The Legislature is TIRED of DeKalb County and does not want to deal with this issue AGAIN next year. If Tom sponsors the bill ,LaVista Hills may be stuck with the map that came out of the HGAC, which sucks….not just saying this because I did not draw the map….but! So…easy enough for MMO to say “Go see Tom”. Late Session tomorrow(if any)but I will check on any progress…really don’t think they want to see me down there!

        • StopNow

          RAJ. The legislature may be tired, but they are the ones keeping the battle going. All they have to do is say STOP. Introducing annexation or new cities this term is going to create a strongly divided county involved in a battle tied to schools (not cities). It is going to tear neighborhood against neighborhood and neighbor against neighbor. No one wants these new cities or annexations since they are going to tear apart our schools (except a few involved individuals with big egos or a couple of tired legislators). If the legislators are tired. Tell them to get a new job.

          • RAJ

            Sorry but we said the SAME thing LAST year and all the stop signs are green. I have been making North Central DeKalb city-hood maps since Aug of 2008 and expect to pickup another one from DeKalb GIS today(keep in mind that my maps contain the CVI city revenue projection data)for further evaluation. I agree with some of what you say about schools but we need to look for a compromise this year. Someone pointed out that I can’t do this alone, but i’m willing to do my share and any interested party knows where to find my proposals.

          • StopNow

            RAJ. Stop making maps. Please.

          • RAJ

            Sorry… GIS was closed yesterday and latest Briarcliff map will be ready tomorrow, but the better news is TT placed the LaVista Hills Incorporation AD in the Champion today(Sports Section P23A no less)so I can hand carry it to his office early Monday morning, attach it to the bill, carry to Legislative office, then to clerk for a first read at the Monday morning Legislative Session. Guess Tuesday would be soon enough but would like to see the reaction of the DeKalb Delegation at lunch Monday! Remember…I’m here for you!

        • Marjorie Snook

          There are 167 counties in Georgia that haven’t municipalized yet. If the legislators are tired, maybe they should put a stop to this nonsense they created with their own short-sighted back in 2002 when they made it so easy to create a city.

          This doesn’t end with DeKalb–this cancer will spread, and little enclaves of people with more money with start trying to secede from Dougherty to Rabun.

          Someone needs to restore a little sanity, or the legislators’ headaches are just going to accelerate.

  • Eric Strunz

    A little unsettling that legislators from outside areas would introduce legislation to create new cities. I wonder what the rationale would be for Rep. Taylor? Would he or his constituents benefit from the creation of LaVista Hills somehow?

    • RAJ

      No; Just the nicest guy you will ever meet!

    • SaveTucker!

      Yes, of course. His area wants their own school system so they can keep the poor population from dragging down their numbers. Heard him say it myself. If everyone gets their own city, then everyone will think they can get their own school system, too. Not that it will be run any better since “Lavista Hills” ran it into the ground, possibly on purpose, when they were known as “the Lakeside Community.” They used the schools to get what they wanted and then lost their power when the board was removed. They are trying to get their “local control” over our children and our tax dollars back. I hope voters will show up whenever this vote takes place to vote NO. These people only know how to improve something by harming others. Makes us sick!

  • RAJ

    Broken City-hood News from the Capitol! After Five and I just Clocked out….tough to do since I haven’t had a job in 71/2 years and my 99 weeks of unemployment expired some time ago! As stated above TT advertised the LaVista Hills bill in the Champion today so bill will be introduced Mon or Tue. The map is the same and won’t be changed. MMO promptly had a tizzy and went to see daddy. Think this did not go well. I got BLASTED by TT after complementing him for being so popular and noting his rising poll numbers. This was followed buy a royal roasting by MMO’s henchman. MMO will probably try to sponsor Atlanta Annexation as a general bill, bypassing the DeKalb Delegation and pissing EVERYONE off. PS will advertise the Briarcliff bill to counter MMO’s Atlanta Annexation bill and this will shoot down my chance of a date with MKW. Big Butt party will promptly kill MMO’s Atlanta Annexation bill and Briarcliff bill will die a natural death. MMO and I have a hand holding session scheduled for Monday afternoon, wish us the best!

    • Mark Snyder

      How can the bill drop on Monday if the ad just ran today? That doesn’t meet the legal requirement in terms of time before a reading. And the sports section is not a legal notice. I continue to be astounded at the end run games the LaVista Hills leadership has not problem employing. And they dare to point fingers at the County’s ethics problems? Nice.

      • RAJ

        Sorry MS …Champion is the “legal organ”sports section or not…I checked. I was told by informed persons that I can hand carry the AD(see below)if necessary. Everything is 100% legal or I would not be involved!

      • SaveTucker!

        Did you also see the part that says a bill will allow the discontinuance of existing CIDs without saying which ones?

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