Dekalb County, GA - As DeKalb County faces yet another indictment of a public official, efforts are underway to create at least two new cities in the county.
Kevin Levitas is among those looking to create the new city of Lakeside near Northlake Mall. He sits on the board of the Lakeside City Alliance.
“The issue of cityhood predates all of the current issues that have been going on, but there’s no question that it contributes to the interest of folks when they’re reading all the negative headlines about the operation of their county government,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
Levitas says some of the feedback he’s received from those in favor of incorporating includes a desire to have the money that’s raised locally spent locally, more control over land and zoning issues, and more of a police presence.
He and Jason Lary, who is leading the charge for a new city of Stonecrest in southeast DeKalb, say it’s not only about self-governance but also a way to make the county better.
“We, the people here in southeast DeKalb, believe that if we had smaller government and local focus, we could do a better job on economic development in this area,” says Lary.
The new city would include the Stonecrest Mall as well as Browns Mill Road, Highway 124 to the Gwinnett County line, Snapfinger Woods, and I-20 up to Flat Shoals Road.
“We can become a better partner for DeKalb with alleviating them of some of the services we can take on in our own concentrated area,” he says.
Those services include police, code enforcement, and parks and recreation.
But with the incorporation of Stonecrest alone, DeKalb stands to lose a chunk of its tax base that’s sure to generate a fight with county commissioners. It’s also a big sell for residents in the south end of the county.
“I think DeKalb does a fairly decent job; they have a lot to handle and I don’t know that a new government would make it any better,” says Christian Booth who lives in the affected area.
Studies are expected to begin soon on the feasibility of both proposed cities.