The way has been paved by the Georgia Assembly for the voters in Peachtree Corners to decide whether they want to incorporate – to become a city. Such a move would make Peachtree Corners the largest city in Gwinnett County and keep any future annexation by Norcross at bay.
It all sounds good. But is it, really?
Proponents, and there are many – it would seem to be a majority – say it would be great; the answer to everything, a chance to create a city with unlimited potential for growth and prosperity beyond our wildest dreams. And, who knows, maybe they’re right.
But others, and there are many – it would seem something of a large minority – say it would just be more government with few improvements and higher taxes.
Let’s be honest here.
The amount of money you pay for the privilege of living in a “city” would, indeed, be higher – there’s no doubt. The question is how much? Proponents say only about $120 per household per year – or about 10 bucks a month. I think, over time – and probably much sooner than later – it would be much more.
Have you ever seen a government – local, state or federal – that ever saw a tax it didn’t like?
It may, in fact, only be about $120 a year – to begin with. But keep in mind, that doesn’t include things like city police protection. Peachtree Corners would still be protected by Gwinnett County Police, which would be an expense for which Peachtree Corners would have to continually reimburse Gwinnett County. Nothing is free. And would the protection be any better? No.
I’m not saying the Gwinnett County Police Department would slack off in any way. No respectable law enforcement agency would ever do that – and the Gwinnett County Police Department is a respectable, hard working and professional police force. But eventually the citizens of the new city would begin to expect better and better police protection without the feeling that it must originate from a headquarters located all the way over in Lawrenceville.
What’s more, to get any changes made in police protection the citizens of the new city would still have to go all the way over to Lawrenceville and ask for it from the county – which would be no different than it would be without the added cost of a city - $120 per household per year.
And about that $120 a year; my experience has been that taxes never stay at the same level, because costs keep rising. Soon your tax bill would begin to reflect the increase, yet you would still have police protection that is a “contract service” from an outside vendor, not a city department located where you live.
In addition, Peachtree Corners would be the largest city in Gwinnett County, yet, somehow unable to provide its own police protection? Not exactly a selling point for potential homebuyers or new businesses looking to come to Peachtree Corners.
Should Peachtree Corners incorporate? I’m not really sure. Should Peachtree Corners incorporate on such a limited scale? No. I just see more problems down the road that aren’t being dealt with right now in this mad rush to become a city.
It’s a bit like the Obama health care fiasco. Should there be health care reform in this country? Yes. Should the Obama health care bill have been passed in such a mad rush just to give certain politicians the victory they wanted for their own political gain at the expense of everyone else without addressing the real issues at hand? No.
I don’t think those pushing for the incorporation of Peachtree Corners have addressed all of the issues well enough to force this move on everyone else. Local police protection is just one of many, many issues that need to be addressed, considered and resolved before Peachtree Corners’ incorporation becomes another Obama debacle.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Randy Wyles is an award-winning business and political journalist and regular contributor to Peachtree Corners-Berkeley Lake Patch.com. He is also the senior investigator for Alpharetta-based Hunter Investigations, LLC. and has worked under private contract for the U.S. Department of Justice.