Guest Contributor – TomD – Insights Into Atlanta – Part 3

I grew up in Sandy Springs, used to ride my go kart on the perimeter (285) when they were just grading it. It only went from Chamblee Tucker to the river at first.

Fulton County has a long history of looting the northside communities of exorbitant property taxes, which are promptly distributed to political supporters in other areas. A few weeks ago I was driving through North Fulton County on roads barely changed, if at all, from when I traveled them while I was in High School in the mid-60’s. This despite the current population being orders of magnitude denser and the insane attendant 24/7 traffic jams and 100’s of square miles of near to $million dollar + homes. God only knows how much tax money has been looted from North Fulton to be distributed inside the perimeter. But it wasn’t spent in the interests of those who paid it.

I remember Fulton Commissioner “Queen” Emma Darnell using Fulton tax money to buy herself a bejeweled multi-thousand dollar Mont Blank pen because she had a “rare disorder” that allowed her to write only using such an instrument. When unincorporated Fulton started to incorporate into cities to escape the taxation, “Queen” Emma famously announced that the northsiders should not be allowed to escape because the southsiders “owned” that tax base. That really happened.

All the houses that I’ve owned in the area were carefully selected to not be in Fulton county. I spent my last 20 years there in the East Cobb County area where the property taxes were 45% of what they would be in Fulton and with far better roads and amenities to boot. Newt Gingrich was my congressman.

So this tax-confiscation-with-no-correlating-benefit war between relatively affluent and less affluent but more populous Atlanta areas has been going on for quite some time. Atlanta has been exporting money from Buckhead and importing crime almost forever. Lenox Square opened in 1959 as the 1st Mall in the southeast; it was an incredible success, for a while. It took less than 20 years for the Mall to turn into a battle zone of shoplifting and robberies.

So I’d say, “Let’s Go Buckhead!”

Jason M: You commuted from Buford to Sandy Springs for 13 years? I85 south to top end perimeter to Sandy Springs or reverse twice a day x 5 days+ per week for 13 years? Whew!

Guest Contributor – Jason M – 01NOV2021 – Insights Into Atlanta – Part 2

I lived in Buford (North-eastern Atlanta suburb, for those not familiar…about 25 miles from the Atlanta city limits) for 18 years, and I worked in Sandy Springs for 13 of those years.

The fact that it is Buckhead that is trying this is interesting. Depending on where lines are drawn, wouldn’t Buckhead be completely surrounded by the Atlanta city limits? Essentially a separate city inside the city? Regardless, if I were driving this in Buckhead, I’d be setting up working sessions with the people in Sandy Springs that successfully incorporated in 2005. I know it’s a different scenario, but there are probably a number of experiences that could help those in Buckhead avoid some mistakes along the way.

I would also imagine that the city of Atlanta will fight this with all they have. Despite their efforts, they lost the potential to annex a very lucrative area when Sandy Springs incorporated. Sandy Springs is an affluent area with nice neighborhoods and industry, and Atlanta had been trying, unsuccessfully, to annex the area since the 1960s. Corporate headquarters for UPS, Newell Rubbermaid, Cox Communication and several others are located in Sandy Springs, along with the executives that work for those companies and all the money that they earn.

Buckhead makes Sandy Springs look like chump change. This will be interesting to watch even after moving to NC a couple years ago.