Dunwoody filed a lawsuit this week against DeKalb County alleging that the county owes it more than $7 million for Brook Run park. The City sued for the balance of the $11.5 million county voters approved for the park in a 2005 bond referendum.
Posts Tagged ‘Dunwoody’
The Dunwoody City Council approved changes to its sign ordinance to allow exterior signs above the 12th floor of any building facing a road.
The DeKalb County Commissioners again deferred a decision on whether it will sue Dunwoody. It was the eighth time in eight months that the Commissioners delayed making a decision about the lawsuit.
“I feel this is a positive step,” [Commissioner Elaine Boyer] said of the ongoing negotiations. “We have asked to continue mediation with the city of Dunwoody.”
The County and Dunwoody are in current negotiations over the transfer of county-owned property, including the multi-million-dollar Brook Run Park facility on North Peachtree Road.
The County also deferred a decision on changes to its liquor license proposed by Commissioner Kathie Gannon that would allow restaurants in mixed-use developments to serve alcohol despite their proximity to schools or churches.
The Commissioners will tackle both again next month.
DeKalb County has already paid $32,000 to former Governor Roy Barnes in connection with the newly created city of Dunwoody. The County will decide on April 14 whether to plow ahead with a lawsuit against Dunwoody challenging the legality of last year’s incorporation vote.
The AJC learned through an open records request that the County spent nearly half a million dollars in outside attorneys fees to defend the County in court or acted as plaintiff’s counsel on high-profile cases.
For instance, neither side has backed down in a nine-year fight between DeKalb and four of its cities. The case involves the county’s penny on the dollar homestead option sales and use tax. City officials say their residents pay the tax but get no benefit. The fight has rumbled through Georgia’s Supreme Court three times, most recently last year, when the court ruled against DeKalb.
The disputed amount is over $9 million. Meanwhile, the legal bills are mounting. DeKalb spent nearly $60,000 on the case last year alone.
“The city of Decatur itself has paid nearly a million dollars since we started this,” Mayor Bill Floyd said. “I would bet they’ve spent twice that.”
Regarding Dunwoody, County Commissioner Lee May contends DeKalb has gotten a raw deal from the new city.
“The boundaries of what was incorporated is costing us big time,” he said. “And it’s not fair.”
May said he would also like to appeal this month’s decision in Fulton over the Dunwoody sales tax proceeds. “I would like to just fight to the end until there are no options,” he said.
With budget shortfalls and furloughs, the City of Atlanta is looking for a piece of DeKalb County’s Homestead Option Sales Tax (HOST) pie. DeKalb County created the 1-percent sales tax on most goods sold in the County in 1997 to offset property taxes on homeowners and to fund infrastructure projects, such as new sidewalks and paving some streets.
About 33,000 Atlantans live in portions of the city that are within the boundaries of DeKalb, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission. They live in neighborhoods such as Candler Park, Druid Hills, East Lake, Edgewood and Kirkwood. Councilwoman Natalyn Mosby Archibong believes the city could be in line for about $10 million a year.
East Lake resident Kyle Caldwell believes the money from HOST can be used for projects such as building new sidewalks near Drew Charter School.
“It’s very hard to push a stroller on these sidewalks,” said Caldwell, 46, who’s lived in East Lake for more than 10 years.
Caldwell said he’s pressed DeKalb officials for years for a breakdown of how much money from HOST has been collected in East Lake and how much has been spent on projects in that community.
“I did not know it had been this long,” said Councilwoman Anne Fauver, who co-sponsored legislation supporting Archibong’s plan and represents portions of DeKalb. “The city tends to think of itself as Fulton County, regardless of the fact that 11 or 12 percent of its residents live in DeKalb.”
DeKalb County recently suffered a set back when the Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter ruledthat the County had to share HOST revenues with the newly created City of Dunwoody. DeKalb County continues to litigate with its cities over the share each are entitled to receive.
In a sixth deferral, the DeKalb County Commission voted 7-0 to again to table the decision on whether to a lawsuit challenging the incorporation of Dunwoody, deferring a decision on whether to sue until April 14. Commissioners, spurred by the loss of as much as $16 million in tax revenue to the new city, hired former Gov. Roy Barnes to draft a legal challenge under federal voting rights laws that protect racial minority voters.
Commissioner Lee May filed the legislation authorizing the suit in May.
May has said legal grounds for a lawsuit could range from lack of racial representation at the polls to the distribution of funds from business and property taxes.