Vote could expand city of Chamblee

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Proponents of a controversial vote that could nearly double the size of a local city hit the streets.

The vote could impact thousands of residents.

The heated battle broke out over a plan to annex 2.5 square miles of unincorporated DeKalb County into the city of Chamblee. Some residents said it's their only hope for better services and control of their future.

Elmer Veith and fellow members of the group "Citizens for Chamblee" spent Sunday afternoon talking to their neighbors in a 2.5 square mile sliver of unincorporated DeKalb County with a big vote ahead of them Tuesday.

"We're just coming out to help answer that and tell people what the real information is," Veith said.

For a second time in two years, voters will decide whether they want to become a part of Chamblee. If approved, it would increase the size of the city by 11,000 residents.

Veith believes the move would provide better police response and local services to him and his neighbors.

"DeKalb County is too large and too big of a system that they can't provide local services well," Veith said.

But the proposal has drawn strong opposition. Fliers and "robocalls" by anonymous groups using names such as DeKalb Concerned Citizens are urging residents to vote no.

"They are saying that we are going to have lower taxes. No, we are going to have county taxes and city taxes. We are going to have both," said resident Ann Hand.

"This annexation leaves you and your families at risk of paying higher city taxes, higher utility bills and higher bond payments," the recorded message said.

Veith said opponents are more concerned with the commercial property that's at stake, including the Century Center office complex and not residents' best interests.

"There are more citizens in these communities right here that don't want to be a part of any city. If we wanted to be a part of Chamblee, especially, we would have moved to Chamblee," Hand said.

"We don't have a choice of just keeping the status quo, the status quo is gone. It's which change do you want: do you want to control the change or do you want the change to control you?" Veith said.



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