What Tucker voters should know about city’s public works referendum

The City of Tucker’s 2021 road resurfacing campaign officially began on Tuesday, March 9. CONTRIBUTED

The City of Tucker’s 2021 road resurfacing campaign officially began on Tuesday, March 9. CONTRIBUTED

Make sure you make it all the way to the bottom of your ballot, Tucker voters.

That referendum down there could have an impact on how your city’s potholes, traffic lights and drainage issues are fixed — as well as your tax bill.

Earlier this year, Tucker leaders voted to add a local referendum to the Nov. 8 ballot. Early voting starts today.

If approved, the city would take over public works and stormwater operations from DeKalb County.

The vote is the first time the relatively new city has sought to add services to its existing repertoire, but Mayor Frank Auman said the time is right. Especially with American Rescue Plan funds available to provide a financial cushion as things get revved up.

“It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take this on,” Auman said.

To be clear, Tucker is not proposing to take over anything that has to do with water or sewer service.

Stormwater infrastructure consists of things like drainage ditches and retention ponds and catch basins. The rest falls under roads and maintenance: things like asphalt patching and pothole repair, curbs and sidewalks, right-of-way maintenance and road signs.

A full list is available at tuckerga.gov/publicworks/.

An affirmative vote on the referendum would allow the city to raise millage rates and change stormwater fees to pay for it all.

The owner of the average home in Tucker — one valued at $328,000 — would end up seeing an increase of about $94 on their annual property tax bill. A little less if and when homestead exemptions are applied.

The city believes it can be more responsive, and act more quickly, than the county to address road and stormwater issues, if given the chance. And Auman hopes residents are willing to make the financial tradeoff.

The mayor declined to criticize the county but said they have a lot to tackle. And city officials are closer to the ground than a county commissioner that may represent north of 100,000 constituents.

If approved, Tucker would take over services next July.

The first year, Auman said, would involve eliminating the backlog of needed repairs. Year 2 would be aimed at further slashing response times.

“Frankly, elected officials are tired of not being able to help our own citizens with these type of things,” Auman said. “We’re not trying to rule the world.”

Tucker has already held one public meeting to discuss the referendum. Two more are scheduled before Election Day: Oct. 18 at 10 a.m., and Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.

The meetings will be held at Tucker City Hall, 1975 Lakeside Parkway. They will also be accessible online at tuckerga.gov/pwmeeting.


Transition of Public Works Services from DeKalb County to City of Tucker

Shall the City of Tucker be authorized to directly provide road construction and maintenance including curbs, sidewalks, street-lights, devices to control the flow of traffic, and stormwater management rather than rely upon DeKalb County to provide such services on its behalf and to levy and collect ad valorem property tax at a millage rate not to exceed 3 mills simultaneous with the ending of the collection of DeKalb County road and transportation special district ad valorem property tax?