Archive for the ‘Elena Parent’ Category

Rep. Elena Parent Selected for Leadership Atlanta’s Class of 2013

ATLANTA – State Representative Elena Parent (D-DeKalb County) has been selected as one of 83 outstanding Georgians from metro Atlanta to participate in Leadership Atlanta’s Class of 2013, which will run from June 2012 to April 2013. (more…)

Rep. Parent Introduces Government for Georgians Legislative Package

ATLANTA – State Representative Elena Parent (D-DeKalb County) today announced the introduction of the Government for Georgians Legislative Package, which includes three pieces of legislation to strengthen lobbyist registration regulations, reform state campaign contribution laws, and create an independent redistricting commission. (more…)

Guest Editorial: Creating a Fair and Open Process for Municipalization

The 10-county metro Atlanta region is undergoing a process of municipalization. Since 2005, the cities of Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Milton, Chattahoochee Hills, Dunwoody, and Peachtree Corners have all incorporated as new municipalities. And now, the Georgia House of Representatives has taken steps toward the creation of a city of Brookhaven (or Ashford, as it may be called) in DeKalb County. There is no reason to expect that this trend will stop.

The eruption of the debate in North DeKalb over whether to form a new city of Brookhaven makes it clear that our state needs a clear, non-political procedure for the creation of new cities.

The way things stand today, a small group of private citizens can raise money and draw whatever boundaries for a city they choose, as long as they have a legislator to champion their map through the General Assembly. Once approved, these citizens need only secure the passage of a referendum, which should be easy because only people within the new city are eligible to vote on the referendum.

The proponents need not take into account the circumstances of those just outside the boundaries who remain unincorporated, existing cities, or the financial health of the county or the region. In fact, there is nothing prohibiting potential cities from including commercial areas that provide coveted tax revenue while leaving out adjacent residential areas that typically cost more to serve than they bring in. This scenario has been seen in the proposed maps for the City of Brookhaven.

The process clearly needs to be more balanced, with better planning, and attention given to the economic viability of the existing counties and the Atlanta region, which is the economic engine of the State. To this end, I have introduced HB 830 with Representative Mary Margaret Oliver.

The need for this legislation is clear when we look at the proposed City of Brookhaven, which would have different effects on different residents of North DeKalb. There are those who would be residents of the new city, and theoretically could benefit due to what may be better services, lower taxes, or both. Then, there are those whose neighborhoods would become isolated from the remainder of unincorporated DeKalb and may well see their taxes go up as the city pulls revenue from the county. Unfortunately, the current method only gives a seat at the table to those select few who are interested in forming a new city.

HB 830 would simply give everyone affected by the proposed city a seat at the table. The bill provides for a two-year period to create the new city, with proposed boundaries set in the first year. It would also require a feasibility study that sets out the anticipated cost of services in the proposed city, in the unincorporated county, and in adjacent cities. This would allow residents to compare costs prior to and after the incorporation. HB 830 also requires the community proposed to be incorporated attempt less costly and disruptive alternatives to incorporation – such as overlay zoning districts and special tax districts – prior to presenting a proposal for a new city to the General Assembly.

There is nothing wrong with the creation of new cities. The opportunities they provide for local control, community investment, and enhanced local representation cannot be discounted. But we need a clear process that is free of politics so that we can truly focus on the residents, businesses, and local communities that would be affected by the new municipality. That is why I ran for office, and that should be the primary focus of all representatives.

Representative Elena Parent represents the citizens of District 81, which includes portions of DeKalb County. She was elected into the House of Representatives in 2010, and currently serves on the Children and Youth, Defense and Veteran Affairs, and Code Revision committees.

###

Representatives Oliver and Parent Introduce Municipalization Legislation

ATLANTA— State Representatives Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) and Elena Parent (D-Chamblee) announced today the introduction of House Bill 830, legislation that would help the General Assembly and Georgia voters assess the financial viability of proposed municipalities. (more…)

Rep. Parent Appointed to Georgia Public Safety Commission

ATLANTA – State Representative Elena Parent (D-Brookhaven) has been appointed to the Georgia Public Safety Commission. (more…)