As we have come to the end of the legislative session in the Georgia General Assembly, I would like to bring your attention to several pieces of legislation that could have a significant impact on North DeKalb County, as well as some advice for communicating effectively with members of the G…

Monday, Feb. 29, was Day 30 of 40 of the legislative session. Known as “Crossover Day,” it means that any legislation not passing out of its respective chamber in the General Assembly effectively “dies” until next session, beginning in January of 2017. With that said, there are several very …

As we pass the halfway point in what will be a very abbreviated Legislative session in the Georgia General Assembly, I would like to bring your attention to several pieces of legislation that could have a significant impact on North DeKalb County.

As we approach Labor Day weekend and relax by the barbeque or contemplate early season college football, I would like to draw your attention to six individuals — five living, one deceased—who changed the world 70 years ago. Very ordinary men who did the extraordinary, and literally saved humanity.

The DeKalb County School District recently announced that it is running a $30.9 million surplus. This represents an impressive improvement of $52.3 million over the $21.4 million deficit that faced the school district in February 2013.

When does one become truly free of material concerns, transcending earthly constraints to focus on matters of the soul? We can, in our minds, travel to philosophical and spiritual realms free of physical boundaries. We can ponder what awaits beyond our earthly journey, frame our values, savo…

As we head into the New Year, the issue that is at the forefront of many Dunwoody residents’ minds is the recent action that SACS took, putting the entire DeKalb County School System on probation, just one step above loss of accreditation. Loss of accreditation would be harmful, not just to …

I received almost 100 e-mails in response to an e-mail message I sent out last week regarding House Bill 428, which is legislation that would create a “path to annexation” for the neighborhoods around Murphey Candler Park, West Nancy Creek Drive, and Silver Lake to join either Chamblee or Du…

With early voting scheduled to commence on September 20th in Decatur, I thought it might be helpful to provide an explanation on the five general initiatives and the three local matters (which I authored).

It was a good week in the General Assembly for the citizens of Dunwoody and DeKalb. We passed my legislation to extend the freeze on the value of your home for county tax purposes to 2016. The value of your home can go down if you happen to get a reduction but cannot be increased through 201…

This past week the extension of the tax freeze on your home for county taxes did not get the required 120 votes. Representative Coach Williams of DeKalb County opposed the measure in “retaliation” for creation of the city of Dunwoody.

At the meeting of the DeKalb County House Delegation that was held February 1, CEO Burrell Ellis joined us and spoke to the assembled DeKalb legislators. He said a few things I agreed with and a few things I didn’t, but then uttered three words which I consider - and you should consider - li…

We finally dealt with some significant legislation in the House this past week. With revenues continuing to decline, we felt it was necessary to give our school systems flexibility in how they spend your money. Sixty five percent of the money must still be spent in the classroom but certain …

In these difficult economic times I believe it is especially important to evaluate the stewardship of your tax dollars at all levels of government. State Rep. Jan Jones recently did a study of spending in Georgia for the period 2000 - 2010 (projected as of 6/30/10).

I am going to attempt to clarify what was written in The Crier two weeks ago about your 2009 Property Tax bill. I suggest you have your 2008 and 2009 bills available as you read my comments.

Spring Break and the 2009 legislative session are now over. While we did not pass the transportation and trauma funding initiatives, please remember that you can’t vote on them until November 2010 (assuming constitutional amendments).

Where to start? The week of February 16, HB 294 was passed in the House and it required the General Assembly to approve any changes to how our technical and adult education colleges are organized. I included an amendment that included legislative approval for any inclusion of our two-year co…

This past week there was a news story about the City of Dunwoody’s finances that was incomplete at best. Several people have commented to me on this story and I feel it necessary to respond.

Since Dunwoody is now a city (a new taxing jurisdiction) anyone who wishes to receive any one or more of the following homestead exemptions will have to apply to the governing authority of Dunwoody or designee thereof for each desired exemption.

I am pleased to report some success in the ongoing fight to require DeKalb County to ask for your vote before spending your tax dollars to repay the principal and interest on new bonds for expensive new county facilities.

I would like to say thank you for the opportunity to continue to serve north DeKalb, including Dunwoody, for the next two years in the Georgia House of Representatives.

Since we now have early voting in effect, I thought it might be helpful to discuss the three proposed constitutional amendments that deal with taxes.

It is an exciting time for Dunwoody. The mayor and five of six council members will be sworn in Wednesday. Residents should know that they have elected a council (and mayor) of whom they can be proud.

So you are thinking about running for public office - mayor or city council. After 10 years in public office, I thought it might be helpful to share a few observations as people decide whether or not to become a candidate.

I recently sent out a legislative newsletter that contained three questions. I realize that there was not enough data to make a complete decision on the questions but I wanted to get a sense of what the community’s initial reaction was on the subjects.

On a local basis, this was the most significant week for me in the General Assembly over the past 10 years. By a 106-60 vote, the people of Dunwoody will finally be allowed to vote for cityhood.

Senate Bill 82, the legislation to create the new City of Dunwoody, will come up for a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives as soon as this week.

The General Assembly only met for three days this past week (sounds like Congress). There is still no agreement on the 2008 supplemental budget (current year). The major sticking point is the House wants to restore the funding cuts to education and the Senate wants to wait until next year’s …

It has been several weeks since I wrote a column. We are now two thirds through the session and in my opinion we have dealt with few meaningful issues.

Tax allocation districts, or TADs for short, have become a popular infrastructure financing mechanism for Georgia’s county and city governments.

Perimeter Summit, where the former HP office tower is located, and the office buildings on the eastern side of Ashford Dunwoody Road across from Perimeter Summit, constitute the southern boundary of Perimeter Center. Everything south of there is the strictly residential North Brookhaven-Murp…

The General Assembly reconvened January 14 and the first order of business in the House was to override 12 vetoes of Governor Perdue. These measures passed the house and the Senate with few or no dissenting votes.

In 2006, Speaker Glenn Richardson approved a study committee to examine the issues surrounding the feasibility and usefulness of implementing a market-demand skills program in grades 10 through 12 in public high schools in Georgia to address youth unemployment and to improve economic development.

Depending on which news outlets you follow, north Georgia and a large swath of the southeastern United States are in the throes of a drought that is “exceptional” (the official National Weather Service terminology for it), “unprecedented,” “historic,” or “epic.” All of these adjectives are f…

As presiding officer of the DeKalb County Commission, Burrell Ellis has made a recent effort to reach out to citizens in North DeKalb. To be fair, it may just be coincidence that he is also an unannounced candidate for DeKalb CEO.

DeKalb County has decided to shell out at least $11 million (that’s a very conservative estimate; the real number likely will exceed $14 million) of our tax dollars for a new performing arts center to be located on a former dairy farm on Rainbow Drive south of I-20. From the hodgepodge of hi…

South DeKalb is getting an arts and performance center. It will have two theaters as well as classrooms for the arts. Estimated cost to date is about $14 million per Ann Kimbrough, spokesperson for CEO Jones.

Reforming DeKalb County’s “strong CEO” form of government. Creating new cities when citizens want local control of their neighborhoods. Making the property tax assessment freeze a permanent measure.