Neighborhood divided over Decatur annexation

by: Tony Thomas Updated:

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A debate over the annexation of several neighborhoods by the city of Decatur is dividing one neighborhood right down the middle.

The several hundred home subdivision of Midway Woods sits just outside the current boundary of Decatur in unincorporated DeKalb County.

That is just where some of the residents want it to stay.

"The main reason is the taxes will increase by 40 percent for most people,” said Kevin Polite.

Polite helped organize an opposition group, “No 2 Decatur.”

He believes at least 70 percent of his neighbors want to remain in unincorporated DeKalb and will fight the annexation.

He's been going door-to-door, seeking signatures for a petition to present to city leaders.

"The majority of the people wanted to move near Decatur, but they didn't want to be in Decatur," Polite said.

You don't have to go far to find someone just as vocal in favor of the annexation idea.

Melissa King Rogers lives just a few doors down from Polite. She has a 4-year-old son and said the increased taxes are worth it for improved schools and better police protection in the smaller Decatur.

"I realize we are asking for higher property taxes to be annexed into the city, but I think you get what you pay for," Rogers said. "I think it's a benefit to everyone."

One thing both sides agree on: The issue has divided the neighborhood. 

The debate comes as Decatur leaders discuss annexing several areas.

If all are brought in, it would add about 2,000 residents to the city.

According to city figures, the increased taxes would bring in about $1 million before exemptions.

Only a portion of Midway Woods is currently included, but some residents are asking the entire area be brought in.

Decatur city leaders will hold a public hearing on the issue Monday night at the Decatur City Hall.

The City Council is slated to decide which areas it will try and annex sometime in December. The residents of those areas would then vote on the issue sometime next year.