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Why the Push to Incorporate Peachtree Corners?

Didn’t we see this tactic with the Obama health care fiasco.

The way has been paved by the Georgia Assembly for the voters in Peachtree Corners to decide whether they want to incorporate – to become a city.  Such a move would make Peachtree Corners the largest city in Gwinnett County and keep any future annexation by Norcross at bay.

It all sounds good.  But is it, really?

Proponents, and there are many – it would seem to be a majority – say it would be great; the answer to everything, a chance to create a city with unlimited potential for growth and prosperity beyond our wildest dreams.  And, who knows, maybe they’re right.

But others, and there are many – it would seem something of a large minority – say it would just be more government with few improvements and higher taxes.

Let’s be honest here. 

The amount of money you pay for the privilege of living in a “city” would, indeed, be higher – there’s no doubt.  The question is how much?  Proponents say only about $120 per household per year – or about 10 bucks a month.  I think, over time – and probably much sooner than later – it would be much more.

Have you ever seen a government – local, state or federal – that ever saw a tax it didn’t like?   

It may, in fact, only be about $120 a year – to begin with.  But keep in mind, that doesn’t include things like city police protection.  Peachtree Corners would still be protected by Gwinnett County Police, which would be an expense for which Peachtree Corners would have to continually reimburse Gwinnett County.  Nothing is free.  And would the protection be any better?  No.

I’m not saying the Gwinnett County Police Department would slack off in any way.  No respectable law enforcement agency would ever do that – and the Gwinnett County Police Department is a respectable, hard working and professional police force.  But eventually the citizens of the new city would begin to expect better and better police protection without the feeling that it must originate from a headquarters located all the way over in Lawrenceville. 

What’s more, to get any changes made in police protection the citizens of the new city would still have to go all the way over to Lawrenceville and ask for it from the county – which would be no different than it would be without the added cost of a city - $120 per household per year.

And about that $120 a year; my experience has been that taxes never stay at the same level, because costs keep rising.  Soon your tax bill would begin to reflect the increase, yet you would still have police protection that is a “contract service” from an outside vendor, not a city department located where you live.

In addition, Peachtree Corners would be the largest city in Gwinnett County, yet, somehow unable to provide its own police protection?  Not exactly a selling point for potential homebuyers or new businesses looking to come to Peachtree Corners.

Should Peachtree Corners incorporate?  I’m not really sure.  Should Peachtree Corners incorporate on such a limited scale?  No.  I just see more problems down the road that aren’t being dealt with right now in this mad rush to become a city.

It’s a bit like the Obama health care fiasco.  Should there be health care reform in this country?  Yes.  Should the Obama health care bill have been passed in such a mad rush just to give certain politicians the victory they wanted for their own political gain at the expense of everyone else without addressing the real issues at hand?  No.

I don’t think those pushing for the incorporation of Peachtree Corners have addressed all of the issues well enough to force this move on everyone else.  Local police protection is just one of many, many issues that need to be addressed, considered and resolved before Peachtree Corners’ incorporation becomes another Obama debacle.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Randy Wyles is an award-winning business and political journalist and regular contributor to Peachtree Corners-Berkeley Lake Patch.com.  He is also the senior investigator for Alpharetta-based Hunter Investigations, LLC. and has worked under private contract for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mim Harris October 04, 2011 at 03:26 PM
Personally I am not buying that incorporation will improve my property value. When the economy improves and foreclosures are reduced then my property value will go back up. If incorporation had a real impact on property values then we would see that the cities in our area would fair better but that is not the case. Norcross and Berkley Lakes properties went down in value right along with those in unincorporated areas. As for zoning, the UPCCA and the county Commission have made wonderful decisions on keeping our area profitable and I just do not believe the hype that this will end. If we as citizens stay engaged to the County Commission we will continue to see our area prosper. As for being annexed by other cities...there are 5 ways this can be done: 3 require a citizen vote, 1 requires the ENTIRE GA legislature to vote for it and finally which applies mostly to businesses is a 60-40 rule. I am also not fearful of annexation. The cityhood initiative is not going to make life better it will add taxes and small town politics. Read the charter and realize that the right vote is to Vote No on Nov 8th.
David B. Manley October 05, 2011 at 03:49 AM
For years Peachtree Corners has been fortunate to have the District 2 County Commissioner from PC; however, we will not always have the fortune of having a PC resident as the Commissioner. Even with the District 2 Commissioner residence history, we still have more strip centers than can be fully occupied, extended stay hotel facilities, an adult bookstore, and there is land for development that may be built out in a manner displeasing to PC residents who do not have the control a city gives us. The District map shows that there are cities and areas that may contribute a Commissioner who may not have the PC residents' concerns as primary. http://www.gwinnettcounty.com/portal/gwinnett/Departments/BoardofCommissioners/DistrictMap  Some say they are satisfied with past representation and county services, but the past is not prologue, the times will be a-changing (including residence of the District 2 Commissioner, regarding zoning pressures, highway usage, and the ability of the County to provide services). I understand some see little use for what appears to be another layer of government; however, the city will replace areas of county government, not add to them. I submit the more local the government that can reasonably act, the better, if only because the government can better enact wishes of citizens with common interests. Those voting for Berkeley Lake, Johns Creek, etc. were not fools, and recognized the benefits of city hood. "Yes" is the right vote on November 8th.
Pat Bruschini October 05, 2011 at 01:01 PM
Thank you D,B, Manley - Well said and I agree 100%. We have been quite fortunate to have had UPCCA involved with planning and zoning, issues since 1993. But now we have outgrown a volunteer group speaking for us. We need elected officials with more clout, responsibility and authority looking after our best interests.
Sharron October 05, 2011 at 05:22 PM
I agree! I am one of many who feel this has been shoved down our throats without much input from "the other side". There were no petition drives, no real notices, other than UPPCA meeting notices.about this taking place. How does this get on the ballot without more community involvement and not just a few? It may be a good idea, but we need to take time to investigate all angles and inform ALL residents. And by the way, what is wrong with Norcross? The way you bash it you would think it was bad. I would love to live in Norcross but now I can't afford it as their property values have significantly increased since I moved to PC 30 years ago!
Sharron October 05, 2011 at 05:23 PM
If you do not go to UPCCA meetings or subscribe to AJC (who does?) you are unaware. It was not even in Gwinnett Monthly until recently.

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