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Archive for the month “August, 2012”

New City of Brookhaven assumes control Dec 17, 2012

Photo Source: CBS Atlanta

When news broke about the possible creation of the city of Brookhaven, I was excited to live in the new city limits if the referendum were to pass. Immediately support signs for the proposed measure began popping up in neighbors’ yards along with ones that urged voters to reject a new layer of city government. I thought there could be many benefits to having a new city, especially the authority to form a local police department. The idea of local control sounded great to me, so I was curious why there was such opposition to this proposal.

It seems some of the concern stems from the fact that two very prominent neighborhoods within the city would be split up, Ashford Park and Historic Brookhaven (around Capital City Country Club). Part of Ashford is already annexed into Chamblee and now the other part is included in the new city of Brookhaven. Residents feel that an effort should be made to keep the neighborhood whole.

The Historic Brookhaven neighborhood is approximately 2/3 Fulton County and 1/3 DeKalb County. The residents main concern was using the name Brookhaven to define the city, a name that has been isolated to their neighborhood in the past.

Opponents to the new city are saying there is not enough commercial property in the city to generate enough money to support the services provided by the city, namely the police force. They claim the new budget only allows for 53 police officers for over 49,000 citizens. However, the new city will only encompass a little less than 12 square miles and the current Dekalb County North Precinct is approximately 24 square miles. In my personal experience, I see City of Chamblee and Dunwoody police officers patrolling their precincts more often than DeKalb County officers. It also seems that crime in the area has increased in the past year and we need to concentrate more officers in these problem areas to reduce criminal activity. I believe the new city of Brookhaven will have the police protection it needs as well as better service and faster response times.

There are also the issues surrounding budget and taxes. Proponents are saying there will be a tax cut as well as a milage cap. The milage rate that goes to the city would be capped at 3.35 mils (down from 6.39 mils) and cannot be raised by the city except through a voter referendum. Opponents don’t trust the budget numbers that have been provided and believe that other fees, like franchise fees on certain utilities, may mean in the end that homeowners will be paying more.  There really is no way to know who is right until the city has elected its officials and starts running operations.

Some additional positives to the new city that stand out to me are having a stronger voice in a local municipality, lower taxes, more efficiency, improved parks and a concerted effort to revitalize the corridor along Buford Highway.

When it came time to vote on July 31, 2011, the results were very close. Voters approved the measure by a 55% – 45% margin.

I am optimistic that the pros of having a new city will outweigh the cons. The new city of Brookhaven will assume operations at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 17, 2012. All DeKalb ordinances will remain in effect until Brookhaven’s mayor and city council choose to change them.

~Stephanie McGinn, Marketer for the WOW Team

Maintenance Tips for First Time Home Buyers

Buying your first home can be an exciting and proud moment, yet there can also be feelings of overwhelming responsibility.  To help curb these feelings, it is best to set up a routine for home maintenance from the very beginning. Many first time home buyers may be unaware of certain areas of their home that require ongoing attention and care. Routine maintenance will ensure certain areas of your home perform properly, decrease repair costs, and maximize the value.

  • Check the seals around your doors and windows; apply weather stripping or sealant if needed
  • Get your HVAC checked annually by a qualified technician
  • Clean your drains periodically to prevent excessive buildup that could become a problem if neglected (avoid Drano if possible as it can damage your pipes)
  • Garage doors should be kept lubricated at least twice a year by applying a silicone spray on the needles
  • Get your dryer vent hose cleaned annually
  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected every few years
  • Change air filters monthly
  • Clean out gutters and downspouts once a year
  • Check roof for leaks every few months after heavy rainstorm, as well as around the foundation of the house, to make sure water is flowing away from the home.
  • Check the batteries in your smoke alarms
  • At least once per year, drain the water from your water heater and clean the inside surface of its floor
  • Check your toilets for leaks by adding a small amount of red food coloring to the tank, and then check the toilet bowl later. If the water in the bowl has turned red, water is seeping through from the tank and you may need to change some tank parts
  • Check your washing machine hoses periodically for leaks, and replace plastic hoses every three years
  • Get termite and pest control service before you see a problem…don’t wait until it is too late

Take note of the above items and create a home maintenance calendar to keep you on track and ensure your home’s needs are completed.

Decatur: Small Town Living in the Big City

People of all walks of life flock to Decatur because it truly offers something for everyone. Decatur is one of the few Atlanta neighborhoods where shopping, dining and entertainment are only a short walk or bike ride away. Top rated schools, eclectic culture, a well-run city with an active community, and convenient amenities make Decatur a great place to call home!

Below we have highlighted some of the features that make Decatur, and its surrounding historic neighborhoods, a desirable and unique place to live:

Convenience- The city of Decatur is located just 6 minutes east of Downtown Atlanta. Decatur is conveniently situated for individuals commuting to/from downtown to work, college, or the airport. Three MARTA stations throughout the city provide multiple rapid transit options for those electing to walk or ride their bikes.

Food/Garden- Your Dekalb Farmers Market has been known for years to be a great place to go for the best-priced quality groceries and produce. Located in downtown Decatur, this 140,000 square foot farmers market has a reputation for carrying high quality goods with prices that are easy on the wallet. The majority of items found on the shelves are organic and locally grown. DeKalb Farmers Market supports small farms that employ humane, environmentally responsible and sustainable production methods. Decatur also boasts several community gardens, the largest being the Oakhurst Community Garden. Founded in 1997, Oakhurst Community Garden offers classes on all things gardening, houses 34 community garden plots, event space available for rental, chicken coops, a composting station, play area and green house!

Going Green- Decatur has many programs and policies that are making strides in going green for the environment. In 1998, Decatur instituted a “Pay As You Throw” program that essentially makes it more expensive to throw away trash rather than recycle the items. Residents buy designated City of Decatur trash bags, which cost more than your regular Glad or Hefty brand. The city will not collect trash in any other type of bag, and people who recycle more will save money by using fewer bags.The city also promotes “Earth Hour” where once a year all residents turn off their lights to celebrate their commitment to the planet. Another earth friendly effort they implement twice a year is a free Electronics Recycling event in which electronic equipment is diverted from entering landfills, where they may contaminate soil and water.

Parks and Recreation- Decatur offers a variety of ­­parks, pools, bike paths, ball fields, dog parks and more! The city has a multitude of events throughout the year, from free concerts to family festivals. The city plays host to several community events such as Blue Sky Concerts and Concerts on the Square at the bandstand in downtown Decatur. Residents can pack a picnic basket and listen to free music at lunch and in the evening! They also have an annual Decatur Beach Party, where the street is transformed into “Ponce Beach” with 60 tons of sand, live music, games, food and fun. Another extremely popular event is the Decatur Craft Beer Festival, which showcases over 100 American craft beers.

Variety- This area has a very diverse population, with 9-to-5ers, hipsters, college students, and families, they all come together to create a highly inclusive community attitude. Unique art galleries, antique shops, clothing boutiques, coffee houses, music stores and specialty shops can all be found in and around Decatur. While the shopping in Decatur is abundant, nothing can compare to the variety of dining options available. Dozens of popular restaurants are located along the Decatur Square and other gems are sprinkled throughout the surrounding neighborhoods.

Walkability- Most of the above mentioned retail, restaurant and businesses are within easy walking distance or short bike ride on beautiful tree-lined streets. Pedestrian and bicycle access is a top priority for their economic development program. Decatur has also produced a series of self-guided walking tours to encourage that form of transportation as well as familiarize people with the local attractions and history.

~The WOW Team

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