March 11, 2014: DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May signs the executive order creating the Task Force on DeKalb County Operations and other Related Matters
DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May hosted the first meeting of The Task Force on DeKalb County Operations (the Operations Task Force) on June 5th. The Task Force – created in March by Executive Order with the support of the DeKalb Board of Commissioners – was recently expanded from 15 to 17 members, with Senator Fran Millar and Representative Mike Jacobs added to the task force. In addition to these new members, voting privileges were extended to the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia and the Georgia Municipal Association. All members now have voting privileges.
According to the County, the Operations Task Force “will explore and study (1) the financial, business, zoning and quality of life impact on residents and government operations caused by the creation of new cities and annexations; (2) the effectiveness of the current governance structure of DeKalb County and ethics and transparency in County operations; (3) the equitable distribution of Homestead Option Sales Tax (HOST) proceeds and legacy pension costs between DeKalb County and its cities; and (4) other related matters.”
At the first meeting on June 5th, Interim CEO May gave a presentation outlining the current processes and systems in DeKalb County. The presentation included an overview of municipalities in DeKalb; an explanation of the origins of the Homestead Option Sales Tax (HOST) and information regarding how HOST is currently distributed; as well as future annexation/incorporation initiatives. May explained after the presentation that, “I wanted to frame out what we are looking at and the reality of what we are attempting to accomplish through this Task Force. I think what we have here is some of the brightest and best minds and leaders here to help us address this.”
Over 100 people attended this first meeting, and participation is encouraged throughout the task force process. The Task Force is going to have two subcommittees: one focused on County Operations including HOST and the other on Municipalization and Annexation. Task Force members are allowed to choose citizens to serve as nonvoting members on these subcommittees. As County Commission Jeff Rader, a member of the Task Force, explained: “For any reform effort to succeed, citizens must visibly express their perspective, not just at the ballot box, but in meetings, on the record, and expecting to be treated as empowered constituents.”
The Operations Task Force is expected to meet several times each month until its dissolution on December 1, 2014. The goal, according to Interim CEO May, is for the Operations Task Force to reach consensus on how to solve the problems that DeKalb County faces and to prepare proposals that the State legislature can consider in the next legislative session.
As Interim CEO May explained, “It is my sincere hope this task force can come to a consensus on how we can fix DeKalb in one fell swoop, and make the most of the one year cooling off period that we asked the Georgia General Assembly to afford us.”
The Operations Task Force is composed of the following members:
- Commissioner Jeff Rader, District 2
- Commissioner Sharon Barnes-Sutton, District 4
- Commissioner Stan Watson, District 7
- State Senator Gloria Butler
- State Senator Fran Millar
- State Representative Karla Drenner
- State Representative Billy Mitchell
- State Representative Mike Jacobs
- Former State Representative Elena Parent
- John Shelton, CEO of DeKalb Medical Center
- Jim McMahan, Vice Chair, DeKalb County Board of Education
- Vaughn Irons, Chairman of the Development Authority of DeKalb County
- Patrick Ejike, Director Community Development Department, Clayton County Government
- April Atkins, AICP; Community Affairs Specialist
- Bill Floyd, Former Mayor of Decatur, Georgia Municipal Association
- Jim Grubiak, General Counsel, Association of County Commissioners Georgia
- David L. Sjoquist, Professor of Economics and Director of Domestic Programs at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University
The Council will continue to monitor the progress of this Task Force and keep members apprised of new developments. We commend DeKalb County on its efforts to proactively and comprehensively address problems facing their communities, and look forward to continuing to work with elected officials and staff to promote ongoing growth and development in DeKalb County moving forward.
Click HERE to view the official County press release.