The cityhood of Brookhaven, a one-cent sales tax for transportation projects, and the next CEO of DeKalb County are on the line as voters go to the polls July 31.
As of July 19, approximately 6,710 people had participated in early voting, according to the county’s voter registration and elections office.
Max Davis, president of Brookhaven Yes, a grassroots organization promoting the cityhood of Brookhaven, said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the referendum will pass.
“We’re not overconfident, but we’re confident,” Davis said.
Davis said supporters of the cityhood movement believe the city of Brookhaven can do a better job than the DeKalb County government.
“We trust the people of Brookhaven over the politicians and bureaucracy of DeKalb County government who have proven over the past few years that they are untrustworthy,” Davis said.
Many Brookhaven residents are fed up with the county’s budget deficit, scandals and shifting of resources, Davis said.
Despite complaints that the incorporation of Brookhaven would take resources from the county’s coffers, Davis said, the proposed city could benefit the rest of the county.
“A well-run, efficient city can only improve the surrounding area,” Davis said.
Opponents of the proposed city question whether it will have a strong financial foundation.
“There’s not enough financial support for a new city,” said Mary Ellen Imlay, co-founder of NoCityBrookhaven, a group of Brookhaven residents opposing the cityhood movement.
“It’s a whole new government,” Imlay said. “We don’t have the money to support it.
“Dunwoody has Perimeter Mall and the Perimeter office park. We only have one office building.
“It’s simply not enough money to run the city,” Imlay said.
Proponents who believe that local control automatically means a better government only have to look at the proposed city’s nearest neighbor, Dunwoody, Imlay said.
“They’re in a huge ethics battle in their new city council,” Imlay said. “We can’t expect to be any different.”
The proposed city would not be a Nirvana, Imlay said.
“It’s just another layer of bureaucracy on top of what we already have,” Imlay said.
Members of NoBrookhavenCity “have been very satisfied with DeKalb County’s services,” she said. “We’re perfectly satisfied with where we are.”
Voters all over Georgia will decide whether to approve a 1 percent regional sales tax to fund transportation improvements.
If approved in all 12 transportation regions, the sales tax would generate an estimated $18.67 billion over a 10-year period.
In the 10-county metro Atlanta region, which includes Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties and the city of Atlanta, the tax is expected to generate $8.5 billion.
DeKalb County government
The top government position in DeKalb County is on the ballots as two contenders try to keep current CEO Burrell Ellis from a second term.
Gregory Adams, pastor of True Church of God in Christ in Austell and a former police officer, is seeking the CEO’s position along with businessman Jerome Edmondson.
Four county commission seats are up for grabs. District 1 Commissioner Elaine Boyer faces Larry Danese, a county soil and water conservation district commissioner.
District 4 Commissioner Sharon Barnes-Sutton has two opponents Steve Bradshaw, a businessman and adjunct professor in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, and Clyburn Halley.
Commissioner Lee May of District 5 will face off against attorney Gina Mangham, Kenneth Samuel, pastor of Victory For the World Church, and Andre White, publisher of The Sentinel newspaper.
Super District 6 Commissioner Kathie Gannon is being challenged by Edmond Richardson, chief of staff for Commissioner May.
For the clerk of Superior Court position, incumbent Debra DeBerry is being challenged by John Carter, Oretha Brown Johnson, Frank Swindle and Cheryl Vortice.
Tax Commissioner Claudia Lawson is being challenged by Melvin Tukes while State Court Division 6 Judge Dax Lopez will face Dionne McGee.
Cell tower referendum
DeKalb residents will be asked to give their opinion about cellphone towers on school property.
The nonbinding advisory referendum will ask voters whether local, independent or charter school system should be allowed to “place or operate a telecommunications tower on any elementary, middle or high school property.”