City of Stonecrest proposal passes key test

The city of Stonecrest would be financially sound.

That’s the conclusion of a revised evaluation of the city’s feasibility conducted by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government, an assessment that will help Stonecrest as it seeks approval from state lawmakers this year. The study was obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in advance of its public release Tuesday.

Stonecrest, located in South DeKalb, passed the test after shrinking to cover 50,000 residents and reducing the amount of government services offered. An initial UGA study completed in December 2013 found that Stonecrest’s expenses would have exceeded its revenue, forcing the city’s supporters to rework their proposal.

The new city of Stonecrest would have a smaller government than previously planned, covering three services: planning and zoning, code enforcement and parks. DeKalb County would continue to provide police.

The latest Stonecrest feasibility study found that its annual expenses would amount to $7.9 million and it would collect $9.8 million in revenue from taxes and fees. The previous assessment, covering 82,000 residents and a wider array of government services, found that costs would have exceeded income by $15.2 million.

Stonecrest is one of six metro Atlanta communities seeking to become cities this year. The others are Greenhaven, LaVista Hills, Sharon Springs, South Fulton and Tucker.

State lawmakers usually require the completion of a feasibility study before they will act on cityhood proposals.

If the Georgia Legislature approves a city of Stonecrest, residents within its borders would be able to vote on the idea. An affirmative vote would clear the way for Stonecrest to start up its government.

Supporters of Stonecrest are holding a public meeting Tuesday to announce the full results of the study. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Stonecrest Library at 3123 Klondike Road in Lithonia.

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