Decatur commission, school board to discuss annexation

A discussion on annexation between Decatur’s school board and city commission is set for 7-9 p.m. Tuesday at the City Schools Decatur Central Office, 125 Electric Ave.

This is the first joint meeting since two new commissioners were added, along with a new school board member and new superintendent David Dude, who’s yet to express any comments publically on the subject.

Decatur’s traditional reason for pursuing annexation has been to increase its commercial tax base, which has been roughly 12 to 15 percent for decades. The city also doesn’t want to add too much residential, thus burdening a school system whose enrollment has already doubled the last 10 years.

“We’ll have to look at the annexation maps we put together in 2014,” Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett said. “But essentially we’re starting from the beginning again. One thing we’ve learned, we can’t get legislative support unless we take some residential.”

No DeKalb annexations were proposed this year with state lawmakers focused on whether to allow referendums on forming new cities, Stonecrest and Greenhaven.

One school of thought holds that with this year’s election — Stonecrest and South Fulton are on the ballot — metro Atlanta’s 11-year cityhood movement is nearly spent. Therefore annexation may once again become a hot-button issue during the 2017 General Assembly.