- Why Cityhood now?
- What services will the city offer?
- How will Vista Grove work with DeKalb County government?
- Isn't this just another layer of government?
- What's the representation that Vista Grove offers?
- What about ethics?
- What is the Vista Grove footprint?
- Will my property taxes go up?
- How can I help the Vista Grove movement?
While the population of the metro area skyrockets, our physical infrastructure continues to age. Vista Grove needs a comprehensive, long-term plan to prepare for the future, and locally-sourced leadership to ensure implementation. The cities around us – Tucker, Brookhaven, Chamblee, and Doraville – prove that locally tuned, citizen-driven planning and clear action lead to consistent improvement, civic identity, and unified effort.
The 4 “P”s:
Police - Public Safety to include Police patrols, improved response times, public safety education and outreach, and neighborhood watch
Paving - Roads and Drainage to include maintenance and improvement of the roadways and sidewalks
Planning – Planning, Zoning, Permitting, Licensing, Code Enforcement
Parks - Parks and Recreation to maintain and build new parks and recreational areas as well as event planning
Like other cities around us, Vista Grove will remain within the county, working in partnership with the county, to ensure efficient delivery of public services. In taking on the 4 P's, Vista Grove shifts responsibility to local residents where local input and presence is more helpful. Vista Grove, for example, can ease the process for issuing business licenses while the county still continues to provide fire protection.
It's a little like shopping at your favorite grocery, but choosing to buy your bread at the bakery down the street. Instead of spending $100 at the grocery, you spend $94 at the grocery and $ 6 at the bakery. In supporting both the grocery and the bakery, you support what each does best.
No, there is no additional layer or duplication of services, only the transfer of responsibility for certain services (the 4P's) from the county to the city.
Vista Grove significantly increases local representation. In Vista Grove (a city of about 63,000 residents), there will be a mayor and 6 council members - that's 1 council member for approximately every 10,000 people. Each council member would serve for up to three consecutive terms and must live in the area they serve. In DeKalb County, there are about 753,000 residents. Currently there are five county commissioners who represent about 151,000 residents and two super commissioners who represent approximately 377,000 residents.
Noting the failed attempt to bring ethics review to DeKalb through legislation that was approved by 92% of voters, the Vista Grove charter includes many provisions preventing unethical activities. They include:
- Term limits for councilpersons and the mayor
- Non-partisan elections
- Monthly public meetings
- Strict requirements about disclosure, recusal and conflict of interest, which, if violated result in removal from the council
- Published monthly reports on the operations and expenditures of the city.
- Internal auditor review (at a minimum quarterly) of operations and expenditures confirming compliance with the city charter and the approved budget
We have several interactive maps on our web site where you can drill down to the parcel level.
Aren't taxes much higher in cities?
The tax millage rate has not increased in any of the recently formed cities in DeKalb. In fact, the tax millage rate for Brookhaven and Dunwoody is less than in unincorporated DeKalb.
Here is a line by line comparison of the millage rates for all of the cities in DeKalb County. Atlanta's totals 44.0656
The success of the Vista Grove movement -- creating a vibrant and progressive city and community that is ready for the future -- depends upon the active involvement of every one of our interested citizens. Here are ways everyone can get involved now:
- Donate. Your previous donations enabled us to pay for our feasibility study and support our website. Our greatest need at present is to support legislation creating the City of Vista Grove and authorizing a referendum vote in November 2019. Donations to Connect Vista Grove, Inc. directly further that effort of advocating to move Vista Grove's enabling legislation through the legislature in accordance with the process other new cities have used. Once this bill passes the legislature, and is signed by the new governor, it contemplates presentation of the question of creating a City of Vista Grove for a vote in November 2019. Donate here for that effort.
- Host an event. We want to make sure we have canvassed all of our Vista Grove neighborhoods and talked to as many residents as possible. If you belong to a local organization and can invite someone to speak about Vista Grove, or if you can host an event at your home and invite friends, this is a critical part of our effort. Sign up as a volunteer and check "hosting." It is a great chance to get friends together and work on an effort with immediate and positive impact on our future.
- Petition. Get five new names on our petition. Talk about Vista Grove with your friends and neighbors in our area. Make sure every registered voter in your household has also signed. Here is the petition link: www.vistagrove.org/petition We ask that they include both their name and address, so our legislators understand the breadth of community support. This is one area where every one of you can make a HUGE difference for us right now; if you encouraged just five new people a week to sign the petition, who themselves do the same, you yourself will be reaching hundreds of our Vista Grove friends and neighbors. Sign online, or print it out and get your neighbors to sign as well, then mail or email the signatures to us.
- Social media. Follow us, and encourage friends to follow us, on social media. Like us on Facebook at VistaGroveGA, and follow us on Twitter at VistaGroveGA.
- Task forces. Join a task force in an area of interest. We have task forces for community outreach, as well as in subject matter areas like parks, public safety, zoning, and roads. Go to www.vistagrove.org/taskforces
- Advocate – Contact your legislators. Your state senator and representative need to know that you want the opportunity to consider cityhood in an election. Let them know you want to vote on cityhood. Here is a list of our elected representatives. Call and write - let them know you value our Vista Grove community and are interested in having a bill introduced to permit further consideration and discussion on a City of Vista Grove.