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HB 956 lives on

HB 956 is now in the state senate and could become law. Contact your state senator to let him know your views on this matter

A few weeks ago, Jeanne Aulbach and I wrote an open letter about HB 956 which is a bill that would change the boundaries of Peachtree Corners in an effort to avoid potential litigation with Berkeley Lake over properties Berkeley Lake wants to annex that Peachtree Corners supporters believe are within its city boundaries.

In our letter, we had requested that the legislation be pulled and that the respective city councils of Berkeley Lake and Peachtree Corners be allowed to attempt to negotiate a settlement once the city council of Peachtree Corners had been elected.  We believe that this legislation, however well intentioned, is misguided because it changes the Peachtree Corners charter without allowing the citizens to vote on such an issue.  During the cityhood debate, the charter was presented as a document that could not and would not be changed without allowing the people to vote on any proposed changes.  This legislation makes that promise ring hollow.

HB 956 is now in the State Senate.  An article found in today’s Gwinnett Forum http://www.gwinnettforum.com/index.html#elliott provides a very informative update of where the bill currently is and what its prospects of passage are. 

If our elected officials receive no input on this legislation, they will assume (probably accurately) that the vast majority of Peachtree Corners residents are ok with it becoming law.  I encourage you to contact your state senator and let him know your views on this bill. 

David Shafer (if you live on the east side of GA 141)   http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/member.aspx?Member=42&Session=21

Fran Millar (if you live on the west side of GA 141) http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/member.aspx?Member=170&Session=21

Curt Thompson (the southern half of District 1) http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/District.aspx?District=5&Session=21

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Bob Martell March 20, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Interesting article in Elliott Brack's Forum you linked to Alex...What are your thoughts on the parks question raised by the Rice email he references? We're not even a city yet and already a state rep has us in the parks business and the future mayor is planning a 24 hour call center and a hundred other things!
Alex J. Wright March 20, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Bob, My view is that as long as Gwinnett County is providing the other (other as in everything except code, zoning and trash) services at a good quality and price that we don't need to consider adding any other services. IF that day every comes, then we can have that discussion and ultimately let the people decide if they want to add something. Ultimately, at least in my mind, incorporation was more about 1) having more control of our destiny and 2) creating a distinct identity that we can brand and then market to the private market than it was about taking over services from the county. The law required that to incorporate a city had to provide at least three services so trash, zoning and code were partially just a vehicle needed to incorporate.
Jeanne Aulbach March 20, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Alex, thanks for bringing this back to the light again. It is critical that this bill is stopped. To that effect, I also urge everyine to write to to Tom Rice as well. You can contact him here http://www.house.ga.gov/Representatives/en-US/member.aspx?Member=194&Session=21. Although there was a flurry of e-mail sent when we posted our open letter, it is probable that both Rep. Rice and Sen. Shafer feel the issue is no longer important. This was legislation that was essentially snuck in behind the backs of the citizens of Peachtree Corners before we had anyone in an official capacity to act in our best interests. We want to see this issue resolved by a joint effort of both cities, not through legislation or litigation.
Jeanne Aulbach March 20, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Bob, I saw Ali's comment the other day and asked Mike Mason about it. He is opposed to adding the parks as am I. Whle the price is right for the purchase, the cost of maintaining the parks is way too hig for the city, is not part of our charter and the county does a great job of keeping them up. BTW - even if Berkeley Lake winds up with a park, they are not eligible for this special price. I know there are some who feel strongly that they want to keep the parks in the city but the price paid for this by the legislation is too high. Not certain about a 24 hour call center, but if it is automated and is used for normal business hours operation, then extending the time should not be a costly porposition. Would you be opposed to a city web site?
Bob Martell March 20, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Jeanne, I would not be opposed to a website. In fact I would support it. If done properly it could be an excellent alternative to a call center...for example, if someone felt the need to report a code violation or trash problem after hours, they could submit their complaint online and one of the city manager's assistants could process it the next day during normal business hours...
Jef Fincher March 21, 2012 at 12:06 AM
I talked to Sen Shafer last week and had a cordial discussion. Since HB 956 has already passed the House it falls on Sen.Shafer to determine if the Bill will be approved, as it is in his district. The focus now needs to be on Sen. Shafer, The voters should hold Rep Rice to account for the bill and his deal making with Berkeley Lake. HB 956 annexation bill serves no public good and is a great example of Government picking winners and losers. Many of the businesses were not aware of the bill and have the most to lose. I hope Senator Shafer makes the right decision and votes NO to HB 956.. Sen. Shafer can be reached at 404-656-0048
David Leader March 21, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Mail them all; but mostly Shafer. This will pass unless people take action. We need to make him aware, here and now, that we will stand as a city to oppose this, and letting this pass will result in them losing votes for ANY future elections. He has asperations for governorship, and 37,000 votes against him WILL stop any of that nonsense. This is a vile bill that needs to be stopped at any cost; businesses are not baseball cards.

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