Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The End of a Process and a New Beginning

Just a brief note tonight after watching the election results come in at Los Arcos. I want to thank all on both sides for their involvement in the process. It was an extraordinary turnout. Based on Alex’s number of 20,262 potential PC voters, the last update on the county site shows 7,260 of us went to the polls. That is an amazing 38% turnout!

The results are in. We are officially going to become a city. It is an end to one process.

But we have a new beginning. First, it is time for both sides to come together and begin the healing process. I will ask those who voted YES to reach out to your friends who voted NO. We are a community, all of us together. And together we will work together to make things even better! I hope those on the NO side will also reach out. We need you.

The message on your blog spot tonight was powerful, positive and thoughtful. “To have a truly vibrant and cohesive community, the new leaders will need to work to bring that value without the usual costs, bureaucracy, and other trappings of government many are so disenfranchised with.” We are in complete agreement with this thought and welcome your assistance in bringing our new city to life.

Because this is a new beginning. The next step will be the election of the Mayor and City Council in March. All voices will need to be heard in this process. All voices will be welcome in this process. I look forward to working together with everyone in moving our city forward. I look forward to seeing Paul Duke’s dream of cityhood for Peachtree Corners realized.

Thanks to everyone who actively participated in this process. The next few years will be very exciting!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Peachtree Corners – City Charter – Solid Waste Disposal

The good news is that we can design the new trash plan after we become a City. Now we must do what the County requires. With a City we have choice. That means the City Council, with input from the community, will design the trash plan we want. Here is what we know for sure.

1) The state adopted a Solid Waste Plan in 2006 requiring municipalities to develop and document solid plans. The goal is to reduce waste deposited in landfills and encourage recycling. There is a reporting requirement as well. We are all aware of Gwinnett County’s draconian response to that requirement.

2) How the service will be implemented will be determined by the City Council once they are elected. They will have to develop a plan for Solid Waste Disposal, hopefully with input from the community.

3) It will take some time to transition from the county plan to the city plan. If the transition occurs prior to when the next payment is due on our property tax bills, there will be a mechanism in place to ensure there is no double billing.

We also know that many people in Peachtree Corners experienced an increase in their bill for trash collection once the county trash plan was implemented. Why did this increase occur? Our cost went up because the county averaged the costs over the entire county pick up area. We live in a densely populated area. The cost for collection in this area is less than in an area where homes are spaced more widely apart, like many other areas in the county. It is simple economics. It takes more gas and time to collect fewer homes in those areas. That being said, it is likely our costs will decrease once we have trash pickup exclusively for this area.

That being said, what are the options for trash pickup? Here are a few.

A local hauler that currently contracts with the county was contacted for a quote. Given our demographics, the quote was $15-$16 per month, including yard waste. For those who choose the solid waste option currently, that could be a savings of $10 per month. For those who do not, the savings would not be as dramatic, but we would have an additional service added for a little less than we pay now.

This price is predicated on continuing billing through the property tax bill. If we were billed directly, the price would be somewhat higher, but that would offer an option for some to provide proof of alternate disposal capabilities and be able to opt out.

While we could open the service to all haulers and allow everyone to contract with the service of their choice, there is an advantage to limiting the service to a single hauler. That reduces traffic in neighborhoods and wear and tear on roads.
Some have mentioned the “infamous” Duluth blue bags. The truth is, you pay for what you use. The bags are either $22.26 for 15 – 15 gallon bags or $33.92 for 20 – 32 gallon bags. All you pay is for the bags. Plus you still have recycling. If a family of 4 uses one 32 gallon bag a week that works out to just $7.35 a month. The smaller bags, perfect for smaller families, even less.

So there are real options on the table. The likelihood is there will be at least some savings. The only remaining question is what will the final plan be?

As always, please email us at blog@upcca.org if you have any questions about incorporation or suggestions for future blogs. You can also Follow Us On Facebook and Follow Us On Twitter. For more information about the city initiative, you can go to the Peachtree CornersYes website.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Peachtree Corners - City Facts - Presented By Rep. Tom Rice

Here are links to a presentation by our State Representative Tom Rice. It is in two parts. Tom discusses his role in the Peachtree Corners City initiative, debunks misconceptions and gives us the real facts about the charter and the city.

Presentation Part 1 and Part 2. Tom also provides additional information on his website.

It is critical that we all take the time to become fully informed before we go to the polls on November 8th. This is the most important decision we will ever make as a community!

As always, please e-mail us at blog@upcca.org. if you have any questions about incorporation or suggestions for future blogs. You can also Follow Us On Facebook and Follow Us On Twitter. For more information about the city initiative, you can go to the Peachtree Corners web site.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Myths and Facts............ a rebuttal

Myth busters – a rebuttal
The Peachtree Corners Ballot Committee (the primary NO organization) has recently been distributing an article about the “Myths and Facts of Peachtree Corners”. Their article lists eleven “Myths and Facts” that they claim Peachtree Corners Yes (the primary YES organization) has been spreading as reasons to vote Yes on November 8th. The reality is that most of these “myths and facts” are simply straw man arguments that the Peachtree Corners Ballot Committee has made up on their own so they could knock down. Read below and note that the reality of each situation is in bold.

“The Myths and Facts about the City of Peachtree Corners”

In discussing the pros and cons of Peachtree Corners becoming a city, residents have given many reasons for and against becoming an incorporated city. But how many of these are not valid reasons for becoming a city?

Myth #1. “We will have more police protection.”
Not true. Fire and police protection will remain the responsibility of Gwinnett County, as they always have. Unless residents vote later to take responsibility for police protection, and vote themselves taxes 5 to 6 or more times the projected city rate of 1.0 mills, this will not change.
Additional Police protection has NEVER been promised as a result of incorporation. Existing levels of police protection are expected to continue.

Myth #2. “We can have Peachtree Corners as a mailing address.”
If you live in 30092, you can do that now. In fact the post office is in Peachtree Corners, Georgia,.
How is this a myth if you can already use Peachtree Corners for a mailing address??? The reality is that you can use any city you want for your address and as long as the zip code is correct the mail will get delivered correctly.

Myth 3. “I will vote for it because of the schools and the kids.
Becoming a city has nothing to do with schools or children. Gwinnett County will continue to provide public education, as they do in every city except Buford which has always had its own school system.
Changes to the schools has NEVER been promised or proposed as part of the cityhood initiative.

Myth #4. “More sidewalks.”

Not true. Roads and sidewalks will continue to be handled by Gwinnett County.
Again, improvements to roads and sidewalks has NEVER been promised or proposed as part of the cityhood initiative.

Myth #5. “It will keep the taxes down.”
Not true. Taxes will be raised not only for property taxes, but ad valorem on cars as well, plus franchise fees and a 2% tax on power bills, which we do not have now.
No promise has been made on taxes other than the Charter will ALLOW an increase of UP TO 1 mil. The reality is that franchise fees are already being paid by you to both governmental and corporate entities outside of Peachtree Corners. The only thing accurate in the above assertion is that you would pay for a 2% increase on your power bill – about $40 for a 3000 sq ft house that has an annual $2000 per year power bill. Dunwoody currently generates about $3.1M in franchise fees for a population of 46k. Peachtree Corners should be able to easily generate $2.0M to $2.5M in franchise fees with a population of 38k. Expenses for the new city are estimated at about $0.8M ($800k). Franchise fees alone should generate a significant surplus and as already stated YOU ARE ALREADY PAYING THESE FEES.

Myth #6. “It will keep out development and businesses we don’t want.”
This is nebulous and debatable. Zoning in place cannot change and current county zoning is totally adequate.
Current zoning decisions will be grandfathered in but once the new city is in place new zoning opportunities will be determined by the city. If you believe “current county zoning is adequate” then you must believe that development decisions over the last forty years that brought us the current state of Holcomb Bridge, Pleasant Hill, US 78, Beaver Ruin, Buford Highway, Peachtree Industrial (especially south of the split) and even parts of Peachtree Parkway were all wise, forward looking decisions. Ask yourself? Can we do better than this? Are you happy with the state of these commercial strips?

Myth #7.“It will raise our home values.”
Pure speculation. The economy, the home itself and location determine home prices.
The vast majority of real estate agents in our area believe this indeed will increase home values. These are people have worked in real estate for decades and know what customers are looking for. Common sense dictates that if an area is able to discourage undesirable development and encourage desirable development that people will pay more to live there. Have you ever seen an ad that said “cute Cape Cod located near a store that buys and sells gold”? Of course not because people don’t want to live next to one or near one. Zoning, Code Enforcement and Planning can help bring about higher quality development.
Think about it this way. On a $300k house just a ONE PERCENT increase in home value will generate a $3k increase to your net worth. Is paying 2% more on your power bill (about $40 per year) worth an extra $3k in net worth?

Myth #8. “Voting No is no option.
Of course it is.
Are you serious? Everyone knows that people have the option to vote No. This was not meant literally.

Myth #9. “Peachtree Corners will disappear if we are not a city.”
Of course not.
The reality is that trends over the last forty years, and especially the last ten, show that surrounding cities are aggressively annexing surrounding areas. This is not a scare tactic. This is reality. A recent research paper http://citation.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/3/9/6/0/0/pages396004/p396004-1.php summarizing over 100 academic studies about why cities incorporate in the US over the last fifty years described neighboring cities views toward unincorporated territory (i.e. Peachtree Corners) as follows….
municipalities can be almost predatory in their stance toward neighboring unincorporated territories. they perceive adjoining land as part of their potential future economic base and thus, often seek to annex it. These municipalities are described as monopoly-like in their behavior.
This threat is real. Anyone who says it does not is fooling themselves. Fifty years of data from across the country cannot be refuted. If we do nothing it will happen eventually.

Myth #10. “Vacant buildings will fill up.”
Really. How would this happen?
No one has claimed vacant buildings would fill out. However, logic dictates that as zoning decisions and code enforcement improve our quality of life and by extension the financial viability of our area due to the improved stability brought by local control that companies would be more interested in locating to our area.

Myth #11. “We will be annexed into Norcross.”
Not unless a majority of residents vote to do this.
See above the response to Myth #9. The annexation might not happen next year or even in five years but studies done over the last fifty years about incorporation and annexation show that annexation is indeed inevitable at some point. To say otherwise is to refute massive amounts of data and research done across the country about situations just like ours.

Myth #12. “We will get away from Gwinnett County.”
Not true. Gwinnett County will continue to provide all services except planning and zoning, trash collection and code enforcement. County taxes will not go down/
No one ever said voting yes would do anything except the new city providing trash, zoning and code enforcement instead of the county. To say otherwise is simply not true. Now, let’s look at the facts.

Fact #1. “Taxes will go up.”

VoteYes supporters admit this. City taxes are zero now and can be raised. The tax on power bills is zero now, it will go to 2%. Franchise and busienss license fees can and will be raised. Ad valorem taxes on vehicles will be raised.
Incorrect. The charter simply allows for an increase UP TO 1 mil. No tax increase is promised and in fact franchise fees will provide more than enough to cover estimated expenses. As stated earlier you are ALREADY paying all the estimated franchise fees with the exception of a 2% increase in your power bill – about $40 for a 3000 sq ft house paying an annual $2000 power bill.

Fact #2. “Another layer of government will be added.”

What is another layer of government if not a mayor, city council and dozens of city employees
Totally false. The word “layer” implies an additional hoop you have to jump through to get something done. This is not like the corporate world where a senior manager is placed between a manger and a director in the company food chain. The government does not work like that. This is instead simply bringing services CLOSER to the end user (the tax payer).
The new city will not have dozens of employees. The feasibility study estimates just a handful of full time employees would be needed. Most services can easily be contracted out. Look at what Dunwoody and Johns Creek do. They are full service cities and have very few employees because services are contracted out.

Fact # 3. “We don’t need a city.”
We don’t need a city because Gwinnett County performs all the services the new city would perform, with no increase in taxes.
“We don’t need a city” is an opinion not a fact. The people will decide on November 8th is they want a city.

Become an informed voter. Read the facts, and ignore the myths.
We agree here. Become an informed voter. The reality is that for minimal cost, or possibly even at a net financial impact to your wallet, we can gain control of our destiny. Ask yourself? Is Gwinnett better off than it was twenty years ago? Am I satisfied with the zoning decisions and pro-growth strategy that has resulted in choking traffic, over developed and declining commercial strips? If so, then you should vote no. If you think you and your neighbors can do a better job than vote YES.

Why I Like the City of Norcross

This blog was prompted in part by a comment from Charles to the Town Hall Meeting article. He stated, in part that “…I am so used to hearing what is wrong with Norcross...” Actually, there is a whole lot that is right with Norcross.
I know we have all watched over the years as Norcross began to reinvent itself under the guidance of Miss Lillian and Mayor Bucky and all the others who have served on the city council and development authorities. The downtown area has been transformed from non-descript and run-down to a thriving business and restaurant district. Their parks have been improved and expanded. New housing has been added and new businesses are recruited to their city.
They have been tremendously successful and have transformed the City of Norcross into a vibrant and healthy community. How did they do that? In large part, by using two of the services that the City of Peachtree Corners will provide; Planning & Zoning and Code Compliance.
Because the City of Norcross has authority within its borders, it has the right to determine the best use of the land. This is done by developing a Master Plan. In Norcross, it is the Norcross 2030 Plan. I encourage you to check it out. It is an amazing vision of the future.
Appropriate and reasonable standards for maintenance are defined. Norcross has set out specific policies and standards for Code Compliance and has communicated these clearly to their citizens. They have the power and the resources to enforce these standards within their borders, but their goal is to work toward voluntary compliance. This combination of a plan and standards allows the city to create an ambiance that will attract appropriate development and new business as well as retain existing businesses and homeowners. Home prices do not just stabilize but increase.
Now Norcross is annexing an area to the east, along Mitchell Road to I-85. I was curious about the area and drove through one early morning before dawn on my way to work. I have to confess, I did not go far before I hit the lock button. It is not the most attractive of areas. You can see more details about this annexation in the Norcross Patch series on annexation.
Why would Norcross want to annex an area like this? Some City of Norcross residents are concerned about crime in the area. But if you look at the map that is included in this presentation, the city already encompasses this area, with arms reaching around it. If we hear of crime in this area, it is attributed to Norcross. This area is already perceived as part of the city because of its proximity to the city limits. But Norcross has no authority to improve it or to have an impact on the crime in the area. Why? Because it is outside of the borders of the city. An area does not have to be part of a city to have a negative impact on the city. Conversely, pulling a troubled area into the city limits allows these issues to be addressed.
Once this area is incorporated, Norcross can use Planning & Zoning and Code Compliance to bring this area up to standard. Gwinnett County and the CID’s use Code Compliance to decrease crime. Criminals are attracted to run down areas and areas become run down where criminals live. When code enforcement is used to clean up these areas, the criminals leave and the crime rates decrease. Planning and Zoning will set up appropriate land uses which will be applied as zoning changes are requested. Long story short, if the annexation is approved by the voters in November, these areas will be reclaimed and Norcross will be enhanced.
Their success story can be our success story. The City of Peachtree Corners will be able to reduce crime in the areas where there is a high crime rate. We will be able to improve the appearance of these areas over time. We can create a vision of our future and work together to implement that vision as a true community. We will be able to first stabilize and then begin to increase home values. And we will be able to attract new businesses to our city.
That is why it is important to Vote Yes on November 8. Not because we do not like Norcross, but because we can emulate the success of Norcross right here in Peachtree Corners!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Holy Cow! What Were They Thinking?

The debacle of the HOT lanes on I-285 is amazing. I heard on the news Sunday that there was a tremendous increase in traffic in the HOT lanes from 3,200 cars on Monday to 4,700 on Thursday, almost a 50% increase. Unfortunately, 50% of nothing is really nothing. And the bureaucratic spin continues. They are also going to do a study to see if the HOT lanes contributed to the extraordinarily backed up traffic last week. Like DUH?

Is it any wonder why many of us do not trust government? The Feds along with state bureaucrats came up with a plan without consulting us or considering the possible outcomes. And the governor states his hands are tied.
How is it that no one could see that charging the two passenger vehicles for what they had for free would cause a problem?

Here is where the problem truly lies. We have people with so little connection to us making decisions that they are made in such a way as to do more harm than good. The further away from us the decisions are made, the
less likely they will have a positive impact.

So at the Federal level, we have two Senators representing an entire state. They can have a bit of an impact as they are two among 50. We have a Representative who is much closer to us in terms of how many people he represents, but his voice is only one out of 435. Decisions made at this level (if they bother to decide) can be disastrous for those of us at the local level. And don’t even get me started on the unelected bureaucrats!

At the State level, it gets a little better. We are closer to our Senators and Congressmen. But the decisions are still made at the macro level and we still have an unelected bureaucracy to deal with. Case in point, I have been self-employed for many years. I took a “real” job last year and owed no taxes. In one quarter last year, I orgot to
file my GA Unemployment Tax (OK, so I goofed). I got a notice that I owed $40 in penalties, so I filed and paid. A few weeks later, the check was returned to me. No note, no nothing. I called and finally found someone to answer my question, “Why?” Turns out they can’t impose a fine if you don’t owe the money. So much for the State being “user

Then there is the County. Again, we get a little closer to home. I have found most county departments to be responsive to my requests. The decisions made are better because the decision makers are closer to us. But still, we have just one voice out of 5 on the Board of Commissioners. One voice representing over 200,000 people and growing. What happens when the one voice representing our needs is outvoted? Decisions are made that have a negative impact on us.

That is why a city is so important. We will be represented directly by our neighbors and friends. Folks who will be as impacted as we will be by the decisions they make. Seven voices all speaking for those of us who live in Peachtree Corners! Local government, not another layer of government.

When voters are upset with government, how easy is it to remove incumbents en masse? In the case of the Federal and State governments, impossible. At the county level, we in Peachtree Corners have the opportunity to remove a single Commissioner every six years. At the city level, in year two, Districts One and Three can each vote for their City Councilor and everyone votes for one at-large Councilor. There is a possibility of removing three Councilors! Two years later District Two gets to vote for their Councilor and we all get to vote for two at-large Councilors and the Mayor! It is possible, within a span of four years to replace the entire City Council.

That means that these people, once elected, really need to listen to us! If they don’t, well… I guess they won’t hold office for any length of time.

How many of us have spent an hour plus during rush hour trying to get to the County Board of Commissioners or Planning Commission meetings? It makes it difficult to participate actively if you hold down a job and care for a family. By having Council meetings in Peachtree Corners, it will be easier for us to participate in our own government. Even in rush hour traffic, we can get to anywhere in the city limits in 15 minutes or less.

So by voting Yes on November 8, we are voting for direct, local representation. We are voting for the ability to quickly remove those from office who do not represent us well. We are voting to have more access to our
government on those issues that matter most us: Planning and Zoning, Code Compliance and Solid Waste Disposal. Can you say "No brainer"?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Facts are Stubborn things


One of the biggest issues I hear people ask in the debate over whether to create a city of Peachtree Corners is why should we incorporate now. A regular line of argument from anti-city people is “what is the rush”?

When they are told that the threat of annexation from Norcross is one of the main drivers in the push to incorporate they discount the idea as fear mongering by the UPCCA. They claim that Norcross is not interested in any residential areas in Peachtree Corners but only in Tech Park. They claim that no one wants to annex Peachtree Corners and that there is no need to do much of anything because no one is ever going to annex us.

The soothing reassurances from the anti-city crowd reminds me of some B grade horror movie where the very nervous girlfriend (i.e. soon to be victim of someone with a mask and a chainsaw) is told not to worry about those strange sounds coming out of the woods nor to worry about her two friends who have been missing for hours. She is told those sounds are just her imagination playing tricks on her and that her friends are probably out taking a walk. Of course we all know how the story ends for the poor girlfriend who takes the bad advice despite her misgivings that were based on evidence of something bad about to happen.

Of course I am convinced that annexation is just a matter of time but I decided that it might be insightful to research why other cities have incorporated to see if my belief was supported by actual research and not just my assumptions and personal bias.

During my research I found a very insightful and interesting academic paper http://citation.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/3/9/6/0/0/pages396004/p396004-1.php that was actually a summary of over 200 academic studies of the reasons for incorporation across the United States for the last 50 years.

This paper was quite lengthy (24 pages) and to analyze it in detail is beyond the scope of this blog plus probably beyond the scope of many people’s attention spans. But there were a few very interesting rationales given by the paper about why cities incorporate I wanted to share. I have highlighted the most poignant parts in red and have provided as much of the excerpts as I believe can stand without falling asleep.

Excerpts are in italic

To avoid annexation
Several new cities incorporate to prevent potential annexations to existing cities. Beche

(1963) notes that most new incorporations in Colorado in the 1960s were motivated by the threat of annexation. Mumphrey et al (1990) found that many incorporations are "defensive incorporations," created to stave off the threat of annexation. Mumphrey, et al, further note that incorporations set the stage for eventual incremental annexations as the city grows, and they find evidence that annexation and incorporation interact spatially at the state level. In the 1980s, no county experienced annexation without incorporation, according to the authors. The mapping suggested a highly regionalized pattern of this interaction.

"There is apparent overlap in the two urbanization processes," the authors conclude (Mumphrey, Wildgen, and Williams 1990, 17). Though they could not determine causation definitively, they found it reasonable to suggest that incorporation "is used as a political
prophylactic, or preemptive, to halt annexation" in many cases (Mumphrey, Wildgen, and Williams 1990, 17).

Some cities incorporate to avoid the higher property taxes associated with proposed annexation. Miller's (1981) analysis of several Lakewood Plan cities in Los Angeles
demonstrated that many new cities incorporated to avoid annexation attempts by the City of Los Angeles.

The primary purpose of these new cities was to limit property tax burden on homeowners and businesses, and limit the size of government bureaucracies and welfare programs.

However, Sokolow et al (1981) note that measures such as California's Proposition 13, which effectively freeze property tax levels, reduces this incentive for incorporation.

Liner and McGregor's (1996) research supports the theory that incorporations occur to avoid annexation. They suggest that municipalities can be almost predatory in their stance toward neighboring unincorporated territories. they perceive adjoining land as part of their potential future economic base and thus, often seek to annex it. These municipalities are described as monopoly-like in their behavior.

Thus, one reason communities incorporate is to avoid annexation to an existing city.

Communities may find annexation undesirable for many reasons, including anticipated tax increases or an anticipated loss of autonomy as the community is absorbed into a larger city.
Depending on the state laws involved, communities may perceive that it is easier to incorporate than win a political fight to defeat annexation.

To Increase or Decrease Service Levels
The most commonly noted scholarly explanation for new cities is service provision (e.g. Miller 1981, Stauber 1965.). In this line of thought, communities incorporate because they want
more services, such as more police, better roads, more libraries, etc. Conversely, communities may incorporate because they want fewer services (and the lower taxes associated with that
choice (Miller 1981)).

In short, residents choose to incorporate to provide service levels that

more closely fit the community's preferences. Gaining city status also may qualify a community for grants and funds from state or federal sources that were previously unavailable, grants which
can be used to increase services. This literature is often identified with public choice theory.

Tiebout whose emphasis on consumer-voter mobility as an indication of preference led to the popular phrase “voting with your feet.” Tiebout set about to describe a “market type” solution to
determine the level of expenditures local government should spend on public goods. Due to the constraints of fixed factors or resources (such as land or beach or space), local government can only offer a limited pattern of preferences. Assuming that consumers are mobile, knowledgeable,
unrestricted by employment, and have choices, a consumer-voter selects the community that offers the pattern of services and goods he/she desires. Thus, a large number of communities or incorporations are desirable and necessary. Consumer-voters move to communities that best expresses their bundle of services and these communities in turn, send their agents (leaders) to purchase the goods and services (policies) preferred by their residents.

To Stop Land Use Change

Some communities incorporate to control land use and growth, often to stop undesirable land use proposals or changes, in some cases land use change that may result in socioeconomic and/or racial differences. Fischel asserts that zoning vies with public education as the two local issues of greatest interest to voters.

In a study of incorporations since 1910, Fischel found that the dominant motive was land use control (Teaford 1979) (Fischel 2001) (Teaford 1979). A study of the incorporation of Wimberly, Texas supports the emphasis on growth management.

Despite vigorous opposition, the town eventually agreed to incorporate because they wanted to preserve town character, prevent excess signage, protect scenic ridge lines, and protect
waterways and community centers (Caldwell 2002).

One of the most striking thing about this exhaustive research paper was that the reasons given why cities have chosen to incorporate over the last 50 years are some of the exact same reasons supporters of incorporation Peachtree Corners supporters have stated – Zoning, Service Delivery, avoidance of annexation by a surrounding city.

I found the rationales and behavior that existing cities have for annexing surrounding area particularly powerful – “They suggest that municipalities can be almost predatory in their stance toward neighboring unincorporated territories. they perceive adjoining land as part of their potential future economic base and thus, often seek to annex it. These municipalities are described as monopoly-like in their behavior.”

I feel sympathy for those that moved to Peachtree Corners to specifically avoid living in a city. Unfortunately 50 years of research and annexation efforts currently underway by Norcross to annex residential areas to their south http://www.ajc.com/news/gwinnett/norcross-seeks-to-extend-753253.html clearly show that it is just a matter of time before the residential areas of Peachtree Corners will be annexed. People’s emotions may be telling them that annexation will never happen but it truly is just a matter of time. I think a famous quote by John Adams sums up the dilemma faced by many opponents of incorporation.

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

John Adams, 'Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials,' December 1770
US diplomat & politician (1735 - 1826)

Many of the opponents of incorporation have shown a white hot passion to prevent a city of Peachtree Corners from happening. They have very strong convictions for why they want to stop this effort and one of their main arguments is that there is no need to incorporate because annexation will never happen. They have an almost religious fervor to their argument despite historical data and trends that show annexation will ultimately happen.

The residents of Peachtree Corners have a choice. We can continue to keep our head in the sand and our fingers in our ears and believe the anti-city crowd who claims the threat of annexation (and the 6.4 Mil rate that comes with it) is just a scare tactic by the UPCCA or we can accept that 50 years of data and current annexation efforts by Norcross of areas to their south clearly show that if we do not incorporate (along with the 1.0 Mil rate that comes with it) we WILL be annexed.

On November 8th make a decision based on facts and data and not one based on emotion