About the Buckhead City Movement
The Buckhead City Committee (formerly the Buckhead Exploratory Committee) is a diverse group of Buckhead residents who have united to improve the quality of life in our community. Our goals are to make Buckhead safer, improve our schools, fix our infrastructure, protect single-family zoning, and deliver a better Buckhead for all residents.
We want a Buckhead where its citizens:
Are protected by a police force that is respected, properly staffed, appropriately trained, and fully funded
Have emergency response times that are as fast as possible
Receive city services commensurate with taxes paid
Benefit from a well-maintained infrastructure
Communicate more directly with municipal leadership
Control issues affecting zoning, parks and recreation
Engage actively in neighborhood improvement endeavors
Better schools for our children
BCC volunteers have formed a team of lobbyists, attorneys, legislators and experts in the successful creation of other cities.
We have consulted with leaders of law enforcement, city services, zoning, education and stakeholders in small and big businesses to develop best practices for our new city of Buckhead City.
Reasons for Pursuing Cityhood
Crime is out of control
The City of Atlanta can no longer protect our residents from criminals. Murders and other violent crimes are skyrocketing as Atlanta has lost hundreds of police officers in the last year. Residents are afraid to go out to dinner, get groceries, and even go for a jog. There seems to be no end in sight to the rise in crime and the City of Atlanta has not addressed these issues. This is having an effect on our economy as businesses are closing down and people are moving to the northern Atlanta suburbs.
Our solution: Buckhead City will have its own police force. With the Buckhead City Police Department, our police will be respected, fully staffed, appropriately trained, and properly funded. We currently have approximately 80 police officers assigned to Buckhead with only about 20 officers on shift at a time. We will increase our police force to 250 with close to 80 officers on shift at all times. A larger police presence that is allowed to do their job will decrease crime dramatically and quickly.
Other crime statistics: According to a June Atlanta Police Department report, robberies have increased by 2% citywide, but 39% in Buckhead since last year; Aggravated assaults are up 26% in Atlanta, 52% in Buckhead; Larceny from automobiles is up 27% in Atlanta, 40% in Buckhead. Buckhead clearly is attracting crime and criminals at a higher rate than Atlanta in general.
The Atlanta City Council constantly proposes changes to the existing zoning ordinances that would significantly impact the single-family properties in Buckhead. These changes would reduce the minimum lot sizes for single-family properties, which would allow a developer to subdivide a lot into smaller pieces and build multiple houses or homes on that lot. If these changes went into effect, then Buckhead's residential density would exponentially increase and much of our historic neighborhood would be lost. For the full proposed changes, visit this article.
Our solution: Buckhead City will gain control over local zoning of our historic properties and single-family residences. Changes now being proposed by the City of Atlanta would subdivide residential lot sizes, increase housing density, decimate the tree canopy, tangle traffic, and strain resources. Such devastation, proposed ostensibly to increase “affordable housing” -- will only enrich developers at the cost of Buckhead’s livability. The incorporated Buckhead City will advance sensible zoning that attracts businesses while preserving residential integrity. Our beautiful canopies and green areas will not be bulldozed and replaced by densely populated developments. There will also be less bureaucratic red tape and easier variance process with our own zoning board.
Buckhead gets very little return on investment for the amount of taxes that we pay to the City of Atlanta. Buckhead accounts for approximately 40% of revenue to the City of Atlanta through property taxes, but we do not see that level of investment in our community. Simple city services are deteriorating such as police, parks, and trash disposal with no plan from Atlanta's leaders to address them.
Our solution: Buckhead City will have greater accountability for taxes so that our tax dollars go directly towards our community. Other new cities nearby such as Sandy Springs and Brookhaven prove that cityhood can provide better tax accountability.
Atlanta Will Be Financially Stable Without Buckhead
First, the formation of Buckhead City would leave the City of Atlanta with responsibility for 20% fewer residents and a smaller Atlanta…a smaller anything…is easier to manage. That leaves Atlanta with plenty of avenues for revenue with about 400,000 people, their Fortune 500 companies, thousands of small businesses, conventions, sports teams, the airport, etc. Any resulting reduction in funds to the City of Atlanta via Buckhead taxes will be offset by the reduction of responsibility for police, roads, and parks.
Second, Buckhead City would offset the loss of property taxes to Atlanta by continuing to utilize (and fund through taxes and fees) the Atlanta Public Schools; city services like water supply and trash collection; and Fulton County libraries. Buckhead accounts for 40% of the assessed value of the City of Atlanta’s property; however, a majority of the Atlanta's revenue is from water, sewerage, and the airport. Since Buckhead City will continue to use Atlanta's water, sewage, and airport, that revenue will be unaffected. In addition, Buckhead City leadership is committed to honoring obligations related to Atlanta’s publicly issued bonds -- such as those that funded the downtown Mercedes-Benz Stadium -- via a pro-rata portion of the debt.
Third, the Buckhead City movement seeks to gain more influence for Buckhead residents only over public safety, parks, zoning, and road maintenance – functions the City of Atlanta has failed to satisfy for years. Only the taxes dedicated to those functions would be diverted from Atlanta. Atlanta, like Buckhead City, will need to learn to balance a budget to not spend more than what it brings in.
The feasibility study proves that Buckhead City could function with over $200 million in surplus, while only taking 9.86% of the net operating budget from the City of Atlanta.
Our potholes are never fixed, our MARTA stations haven't been updated in years, and our parks are being neglected. There is the notorious video of a woman taking a shower in broad public in Charlie Loudermilk Park (in front of the Buckhead Theatre) that went viral. For the amount of taxes that residents of Buckhead pay, we deserve better.
Our solution: Buckhead City will be better equip to fix our roads, update our transportation systems, and maintain our parks because our tax dollars will be going directly to our own community.