Thursday, October 12, 2017

DeKalb Negotiators

When it comes to the upcoming annexation of Emory, Inc. into the City of Atlanta, DeKalb fancies itself a Trump-like, Art of the Deal negotiator. The Commissions top dog, who must be coming up for election, toots their horn thusly:

“The idea was to make sure that our citizens are being protected,” said Gannon, the commission’s presiding officer. “We had to raise those concerns in good conscience.”
Protected? From? Concerns? Really? Here's what she was able to deliver:
The agreement grants several concessions to the county. The city will pay $1 million a year for up to a decade for county firefighting services, adopt the county’s zoning restrictions on development and tall buildings for a year, and require a public meeting on MARTA’s transportation plans.
For up to a decade is an interesting qualifier. Turns out one year fits that definition. As does one month. And nearby residents are protected from the overbearing shade of tall buildings for an entire year. Twelve full months. And MARTA is going to have a public meeting on their transportation plans. Now this seems odd if only because both Fulton and DeKalb and therefore the City of Atlanta are charter members of the MARTA Tax Club.

What no one seems willing to discuss is the transfer of a significant tax based from the County to the City. What tax base you say? Isn't Emory, Inc. tax exempt paying no property tax? Indeed. However they do pay franchise fees and given their power bill that ain't chump change. More important is the occupation tax which is essentially an income tax paid either to the county or, should there be one, the city. Annexation moved these taxes from DeKalb's account to Atlanta's with nary a peep from DeKalb's "leaders."