District 6 Information
The Green Expo is Coming!Join Commissioner Kathie Gannon, the DeKalb County Green Commission, the Decatur Environmental Sustainability Board and the Dunwoody Sustainability Commission in promoting sustainable living. The event features small, local businesses. Enjoy educational workshops and activities for children. Parking and admission are free. Saturday, April 20 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, Georgia Piedmont Technical College Conference Center, 495 N Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston.
“Trash to Gas” Fuel Stations Begin OperationsI participated in the grand openings of two new Compressed Natural Gas fueling stations available to commercial fleets and owners of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. One station is on Buford Highway and the other is at the Seminole Landfill. The CNG fuel from the pumps comes straight from DeKalb’s Renewable Energy Facility at Seminole Landfill. This facility captures methane gas from the landfill and converts it to CNG.
In a departure from dependence on diesel fuel, DeKalb County sanitation trucks are switching to CNG. In a very literal sense, DeKalb County sanitation vehicles will be powered by the trash that they are hauling. We are turning ‘Trash to Gas’ and ‘Gas to Cash’, saving $3 million over the next 8 years by using it in DeKalb County vehicles. The county’s goal is to eventually replace or adapt its entire fleet of 306 sanitation vehicles with natural gas vehicles.
Both CNG fuel station locations were funded as part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus funds through the U.S. Department of Energy.
DeKalb Strengthens Tobacco RestrictionsNew in 2013 is a ban on smoking in public parks, on playgrounds and while people are standing in a line for a service, such as an ATM transaction. Eliminating this will prevent second-hand smoke from harming those nearby and help discourage teens and others from smoking and littering in parks. This expanded regulation, which I supported, was recommended by the Board of Public Health.
Derelict Apartment Complex to be Demolished – Park to be CreatedFor many years the Brookside Apartments on North Decatur Road have been an abandoned eyesore. Soon they will be demolished and a community park will emerge from the ruins.
The owners of the apartment property fell into bankruptcy and could not pay the back taxes. An adjoining property owner explored rehabbing the buildings, but they were too dilapidated to renovate. I worked with the Community Development Department, Recreation and Parks, Sanitation Division, the Tax Commissioner and the Natural Resource Management office to clean up this property and bring about positive change to the community. Using $247,000 allocated to District 6 from Park Bonds funds, we paid off the back taxes, and soon, the buildings will be demolished and the site cleared. Acquiring this property for less than $33,000 per acre is a bargain and eliminating a slum will boost values for everyone who lives nearby. In the coming weeks I will be working with the surrounding neighbors, Park Pride and our Parks department to begin planning how the property will be used in the future.
Start-up Fees for Recycling EliminatedIn late September the fees for recycling were eliminated. Now there is no reason not to recycle! Go to www.DeKalbRecycles.com and register NOW. By recycling you will help DeKalb County control costs for sanitation. Last year the County made $600,000 from selling recyclables like cardboard, paper, aluminum, glass and plastic. I spearheaded a recycling marketing task force to take advantage of these reduced fees. Since the fees were eliminated, the participation rates have increased 19%.
Senior Center GroundbreakingsNovember celebrated the groundbreakings on two new 15,000 square foot senior centers in DeKalb. Both facilities will serve DeKalb County seniors as meeting spaces, activity centers and places for socializing. Sitting areas are inside and outside, but more importantly, fully equipped fitness rooms and walking trails are key features to promote physical activity.
The North DeKalb Senior Center, located at 3393 Malone Drive, Chamblee, is a pedestrian friendly facility, walking distance to Senior Connections, Mercy Housing, the Chamblee MARTA station, a future City of Chamblee pathway and other existing mixed use developments.
The South Senior Center is going to be an important part of a new Mixed Use Development along Candler Road, including the new Scott Candler Library and privately developed senior housing. Access to a MARTA bus line, along with a streetscape and sidewalk, promote walkability.
New Staff MemberMichelle Walldorff has joined the staff of District 6. After attending elementary school in DeKalb County, Michelle’s family relocated to the Middle East. Traveling abroad in her youth instilled a passion for diverse cultures.
Michelle graduated from Georgia State University with both her undergraduate degree in Geography, and a graduate degree in Exercise Science. The time between those degrees was spent working with her husband in construction and hospitality while raising their two sons. The busy years of work, family and school volunteering lead to her return to college to obtain her Master’s degree. Michelle’s education and interest for healthy living lends an insightful expertise to the DeKalb sustainability initiatives.
Bouldercrest-Cedar Grove-MorelandMany updates have been written about this community based planning process that was initiated in 2009 and involved numerous meetings to create a vision for the retrofit of the southwest corner of DeKalb County. Now that vision can come to fruition with a proposed overlay zone to set requirements for any future development in the area. The new zoning was approved by the Board of Commissioners at the March zoning meeting.
2013 Food Drive-A Great Success!Thank you for making this the best food drive yet! Co-sponsor, DeKalb Solicitor, Sherry Boston, and I appreciate the generous response from DeKalb employees. We collected over a ton of food for the Atlanta Food Bank. That’s over 1800 meals!
After the Holidays, food pantries are at their lowest inventory. Although our Food Drive is over, please don’t forget that hunger is affecting many people in Georgia every day. Please consider donating whenever possible.
2013 Budget PassedThe Board of Commissioners has passed a budget for 2013 that does not include any tax increases. The budget is based on the assumption that the County tax digest (the sum of all property values) will decrease 3% from 2012. If revenues fall below this amount, the budget will be adjusted downward.
The 2013 budget is approximately $3 million higher than 2012 expenditures. The budget for 2013 includes funding for additional police officers and firemen, funding to build a new animal shelter, improvements to the permitting system and a small wage increase for the lowest paid County workers. County employees have not had a wage increase since 2008. This increase affects only those full-time employees earning less than $37,700. During this period of no wage increases, the take-home-pay of all County employees has been reduced each year to cover their share of increases in health insurance and pension costs.
When we refer to the budget, we generally refer to the General Fund budget which relies heavily upon property and sales taxes. Water and sewer is completely funded by user fees, and is not a part of the General Fund budget. Water and sewer fees have increased in order to reduce pollution and comply with a federal consent decree from the Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department that requires DeKalb County to rebuild major portions of our water and sewer systems. The increases in water and sewer bills are going directly to repay the bonds issued to pay for the water and sewer upgrades. The cost of trash collection and disposal is also funded by user fees and is not included in the General Fund. The issue of reducing to one sanitation pick-up versus increasing sanitation fees has not been decided, but will come to the Board of Commissioners in the near future.
What do you think? Would you prefer to drop one pick up, keeping one solid waste, one recycling and one yard waste per week? Or, keep pick ups the same and raise fees? Email me at email@example.com.
Let me know about your neighborhood meetings. I would like to attend. Watch my website calendar for events throughout District 6.
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