Editor’s Note: Ed Williams, an opponent of cityhood, has written numerous editorials on why he stands against the movement. He outlined several reasons why he opposes the incorporation of Stonecrest In the Oct. 21 edition of On Common Ground News. Proponents responded to Williams’ editorial with the following of their own:
Here’s what voters should know. Ed Williams is a proponent for expanding county government, only. He’s campaigned against other cityhood movements, but most vigorously against proposed South DeKalb cities with majority black populations – targeting Greenhaven and Stonecrest.
Williams makes the false claim that the economic development plan would move taxpayer money into the hands of “some unelected committee.” There is no unelected committee in the government structure as defined by the bill (Page 22/Line 763).
He also falsely claims that Brookhaven, Dunwoody, and Sandy Springs are full service cities and that Stonecrest proponents have no such intent, that the city charter does not address the intergovernmental costs and administrative overhead for a full-service city, and that any projected budget surplus would disappear when services such as police, road maintenance, and sanitation are added. All of this is intended to mislead. First, neither Brookhaven nor Dunwoody are as yet full service (no Fire departments), and Sandy Springs did not initially provide all those services. Second, the estimated initial budget for Stonecrest is $10 million in revenue versus 8million in expenses ($2 million surplus). We would be gradually taking on services. Third, Williams still doesn’t account for the city’s ability to leverage local revenue to obtain federal and state grants and programs.
We agree that a city does not automatically mean economic development. However, local city government can and has helped to facilitate growth in other cities through advocacy and promotion – something that we have not gotten here. A city government may, within its powers, create an economic development department to draw jobs and commerce, redirect tax dollars back into the community for improving existing assets and developing new opportunities, and leverage local revenue to obtain additional funds from existing state and federal grant programs to boost the impact of local funding.
Another false claim is that millage caps in the city charters are not binding and that an increase in property tax millage rate can be made by City Council vote. Millage rates cannot increase unless qualified electors (voters) of the City vote in favor of increase. (Reference Line 224/Page 7 of the city charter.)
The statements that Mr. Williams made in his article are easily disproven by anyone with internet access and basic reading comprehension. It strikes me as odd and shameful that Williams assumes voters wouldn’t research for themselves. It should also be noted that Williams does not live in the proposed City of Stonecrest.