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‘Secession’ efforts likely rooted in frustration

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

Scouring the Internet, researching websites and following a myriad of trails back to the source, it appears that discussions of Northern Albany seceding from the city and forming its own community have connections with a taxpayer group formed following the controversial 2007 property tax reevaluations.

An e-mail sent to recipients throughout the city of Albany, and strangely enough none of the local media, by Dinorah Hall, seeks input from Northwest Albany residents on whether they would join an effort to pull out of the city of Albany and form their own community.

Pointing to the recent creation of Metro Atlanta communities like Sandy Springs, the e-mail was spotted in various formats across the web including a website of Real Estate Agent Mike Flynn, who posted comments on his blog, with a link to a story about how a judge dismissed a recent lawsuit filed by black lawmakers who argued that the “super majority-white” cities — like Sandy Springs — were diluting black voting strength.

“The link below is positive since there has been some behind the scenes organization to form a new city in Albany’s Northwest sector. Just think what a new city with the tax base of the Albany Mall, Doublegate, and Chick-Fil-A could do!,” Flynn writes.

Hilliard Burt, one of the original founders of the Dougherty and Lee County Taxpayers Association, Inc., a non-profit corporation who formed originally to protest the 2007 revaluation of property taxes, said Thursday that one of his members had been following the situation in Atlanta closely for a while, but that “it’s premature to say that there is this kind of organization yet.”

Instead, Burt said that he believes that research is being done to see what legal hurdles would have to be jumped if residents wanted to form their own city.

As mentioned in Hall’s e-mail, Sandy Springs managed to reduce the city’s cost by $20 million by outsourcing virtually everything to private management companies.

According to Sandy Springs’ website, the city maintains its own police and fire departments, but many of the other services are outsourced.

After decades of attempts by Sandy Springs residents to incorporate, who at the time were fearful of being annexed by the city of Atlanta, the General Assembly changed the laws governing incorporation making it easy for cities to form.

Since 2005, Sandy Springs, Chattahoochee Hills, Dunwoody, John’s Creek and Milton have incorporated themselves from the counties in which they lie.

The only discernible difference from those cities and Northwest Albany, is that none of those cities attempted to split from an existing city.

Bob Langstaff, the city commissioner for much of Northwest Albany, said Thursday that he was unaware of any chatter about forming a new city in his Ward.

Northwest Albany residents have expressed growing resentment towards government leaders downtown for ignoring their concerns and using property tax dollars they believe they are the chief supplier of, to the benefit of Albany’s impoverished.

Email J.D. Sumner at j.d.sumner@albanyherald.com.

Comments

Abytaxpayer 2 years ago

Wow can we say BAD idea! Seriously if Langstaff and Marietta are the two best we can come up with for Albany Commissioners what kind of Mayor and Commissioners would we have to in a “New City” ????

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KaosinAlbany 2 years ago

They would have to have their own election because the current commissioners and mayor would be ousted, but they can run for a commission seat or the mayor position but expect opposition from moral and caring citizens, not liberal idiots who claim they are conservative and are really not...

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KaosinAlbany 2 years ago

Please do not under estimate these people. Where there is a will there is a way.

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BettyBowTie 2 years ago

Like KasosinAlbany pointed out, NW Albany would elect new leaders. Those guys would be gone.

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whattheheck 2 years ago

In a new city, where there is cause for hope, as opposed to no hope now, perhaps there would be more and better people running for public office. As with the DCSS BOE, who wants to run for the city commission?

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Jack_Frost 2 years ago

You know J.D., you might not have had to do as much legwork if you hadn't been all over Facebook telling people the idea was "nutty". It's not like folks are really going to trust you to write an unbiased report when you've already made your opinions pretty clear.

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Jimboob 2 years ago

When you read about tax money going to replace a bridge to the money pit it's easy to understand why some people don't want to keep sending money downtown. It isn't like there aren't needs in the northwest.

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BettyBowTie 2 years ago

I am not opposed to spending money to improve downtown, I am opposed to building more and more low income housing so we can haul in more poor people from all over the country. I am opposed to throwing away our money on Cutliff Grove, Dalewood Estates, University Gardens, Multi Modal centers, a mega bridge, a tacky arch, overdone streetlights on Westover, welcome signs, shall I go on? No matter if it is local, state or federal money, it was once our money. We have little voice in how and where it is spent. The people that vote in a lot of SPLOST money are often the ones not paying taxes. Our "leaders" do not listen to the taxpayers.but they do listen to the people that live off welfare.

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Cartman 2 years ago

Anyone gets restless when they don't have a voice in government proportional to their tax contribution. Our nation was founded on the same discontent. It is an American spirit. Nutty idea? Maybe it will never happen. Maybe Northwest will continue to ride the Albany train off the cliff. But its never nutty to try and slip the bonds of tyranny. “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” Teddy Roosevelt.

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dingleberry 2 years ago

Sorry you didn't get the memo. But why should the media, or anyone not selected by the writer, get the email? All too often those involved in any type of effort the media chooses not to embrace will be cast in negative light and generally subjected to its "race test". You injected race into this article although it adds nothing. But we in the general public do need our reminders and a frequent dose of "race" seems to be appropriate. Efforts of the tea party, and how it has been treated in the media, is a great example--get out the sheets folks, the tea party's in town! So, when the media becomes involved, one runs the risk of negative writing regardless of how positive the effort is.

Your comment on "frustration" is certainly on target. And why should those who are the prime economic generators in the city not be frustrated? Look at what we have done with money in the past and tell me why there should be less frustration. I think we will see a growing effort on the part of those who seek relief from city governments whose thirst for revenue constantly overrides the interests of those who provide the revenue--and not just those living in Albany. However, Albany is certainly a prime example of government that seems to have lost its fiscal compass and is on a very slippery downhill slope.

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