Neighbor vs. neighbor in Decatur city fight - CBS46 News

Neighbor vs. neighbor in Decatur city fight

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To be or not to be annexed into the city of Decatur is a tough question facing 2,000 residents of unincorporated DeKalb County.

The city held a public meeting Monday to get input on whether annexation is something that could be beneficial to the city.

The key points raised during the hearing surrounded major issues that include higher taxes, better schools, better service for fire and police services and higher home prices.

"Not being in Decatur, our property value is plummeting," Stacy Hall said. "We send our kids to private schools, and now we have two children we don't feel can go to the school system in DeKalb."

But there are other people just outside the city limits who don't have children, and that is also a big problem for them.

"I don't have kids," Kevin Polite said. "I am happy with the service DeKalb offers, and there is no benefit to me."

"I also don't want Decatur to get bigger," said Jenn Huggins. "As wonderful as it is, it's wonderful because it's small."

Roughly two-thirds of taxes collected in Decatur go toward education. Decatur has one of the best school districts in the metro area, and with the benefits of that school district come enormous costs to taxpayers. 

"My property taxes would more than triple if I am annexed in the city of Decatur," said Darleen Jarman.  "And living on Social Security and a pension, I don't want to do that. This year, I paid $900 with the exemption in DeKalb County. If I lived in the city of Decatur, I would have paid $2,900."

Another benefit for some residents living in the city limits would be higher home prices, which have remained steady in Decatur despite the economic downturn.

"If I could get the revenue out of my home, I would buy a home in Decatur," Hall said. "But at this point, DeKalb County is in such a mess; our property values dropped $60,000 in the last two years."

The final vote on whether the city will support annexation will be in December. Even if the city decides this is something they want to follow through with, legislators will have to pass a referendum to allow the annexation, which in turn will be voted on sometime next year.

For more information, you can log on to the city of Decatur's website.

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