At a recent Peachtree Corners Yes meeting, I wasn’t expecting a “No City” speaker to get up in front of the crowd telling those in the community that the idea of Peachtree Corners becoming a city is a boondoggle. Sure, there were a few naysayers in the audience, but honestly, I wish there were more.
“What? Are you crazy? Do you want sparks to fly?” someone might ask me.
I don’t want sparks to fly, but I like healthy debates. If the debates are civil, then we all grow as a community. Town hall discussions are what build communities. I’m always distraught when folks stay away from these meetings fearing that they foster politics and vicious arguments. If I were to make an argument for a city, holding these meetings is a plus – as long as participants respect each other’s ideas.
Still, the meeting was productive. UPCCA veteran Mike Mason and State Senator Fran Millar put on excellent presentations filled with solid arguments. Both are very good speakers with open minds. Those in the audience in the packed backroom at Mary Our Queen church intensely listened to the speakers as they were reminded that with a city, they are many advantages including the power of choice.
“Here you can vote for your city council and mayor,” Mason boasted. “You have the choice!”
Indeed, the people in the new city will have choice with this new government, a government that its supporters say will protect them from future encroachment. The speakers argued that Peachtree Corners is a cash cow rich in successful businesses, an overall educated citizenry, good schools and infrastructure. What nearby city wouldn’t want to annex this area and impose its millage rates on residents and businesses? Mason replied to a skeptical attendee that a neighboring city has made those very annexation attempts within the past few years.
State Senator Fran Millar followed Mason with salient points.
“To me Peachtree Corners, you’re a lot like Dunwoody was several years ago,” the senator remarked. "As a community gets older, code enforcement becomes more important.”
Both Senator Millar and Mason pointed out that there’s quite a bit in a name. Peachtree Corners is not Norcross. Peachtree Corners is not Berkeley Lake. Peachtree Corners is Peachtree Corners. A solid identity is more than just an identity for the area. It’s good for business such as realtors who can sell a product attached to a defined area.
Again, all good points, but many were left wondering how real these scenarios are and if so, what is the final price tag on a city in today’s market? Further, will this city truly work in the interests of the people and live up to its word that it will prevent decay and annexation? There are no guarantees here. Like any investment, creating a new city is a risk, but that risk will be reduced if and when good leaders are elected to operate it.
Attendees were reassured that the entire idea is a win-win situation whereby residents will be able to enjoy an even greater quality of life and may even come out with a fiscal advantage.
“You don’t have big ticket surprises here,” State Senator Millar reminded the audience.
Despite the arguments on this site, Facebook and the blogosphere, the choice is clear. Do you really feel that Peachtree Corners is at the tipping point and is in need of this investment? If so, vote yes. Do you feel that pro-city arguments are balderdash and that annexation attempts and decay will never happen? If so, vote no. Whatever your opinions are on the matter, thankfully in this democracy, we have the choice.