Check Out Our New Blog Here!

A few members of the Brookhaven Yes group have backed the new Parks Bond and have been putting up signs and adding comments to social media to encourage the community to vote yes for the parks bond.  I'll be putting some information together and adding it to the page in the next few days.

The YES group is touting that City of Brookhaven is to dedicate a $40 million bond to improving our parks. They cite the following:
Ashford Park ($1.9 million) - splash pad, granite seat walls, furnishings
Blackburn Park ($1.3 million) - marquee fencing, a solar canopy, parking lot renovations 
Briarwood Park ($7 million) - new pool, bathhouse, tennis court pavilion, renovated community center, community garden enhancements 
Brookhaven Park ($6 million) - largest fenced dog park in the metro area, improved access, other new amenities 
Lynwood Park ($11 million) new lap pool, splash pad, bathhouse, turfed multi-use field. granite seat walls, landscaping 
Murphey Candler Park I ($10 million) - lake dredging, boardwalk, new community building, pedestrian bridge across lake, multi-use trails, improved parking, community green 
System wide ($2.5 million) - Wi-Fi, added security, beautification, invasive plant removal

Here's some of the questions that are being asked:

Brookhaven Park - why imply that the dog park fence is part of the bond plans when it appear that the dog fence is already funded and not dependent on the bond passing.  Speculation is that they are using it to questionably influence the vote of the people that fought so hard to get the dog park.  

Brookhaven Park - $6 million dollars for "other new amenities" carefully not spelling them out, cause for concern among many residents.  With no specific improvements listed in the bond, how do we know what/how our money will be spent.  It is not lost that Brookhaven Park is a money maker for the city as it is leased out for festivals and such but the city hasn't cared to make any improvements in the past even when park improvements were a top priority in the formation of the city. 

 ** In a response from the City Manager: "“The $6M will not cover an entire master plan for Brookhaven Park, implementation will have to be phased...just like Murphy Candler and Blackburn parks. Yes, build out of the dog park would be in the master plan. While the fence is currently being installed, the master plan would include water fountains, etc." ....."Once the Brookhaven Park master plan is approved, City Council (with community input) will have to decide what part of the master is completed first...after the front half is purchased. I do anticipate that the fencing and entry / gateway from Peachtree Road will be a high priority."

He goes on to imply that if we do not buy the front half of the park it could be sold to developers, which I have been assured is highly unlikely.  He also mentions the "gateway" from Peachtree - I assume that in the 60K - 100K+ stone signs that are showing up in the parks and along the roadways at the city limits.

Things that make you go hummm: In a rare legislative procedure the bond, if approved at the ballot box, intentionally waived the right of the city to have the bond audited.

Lynwood Park: $11,000,000 for a lap lane, splash pad and pool house (and some field improvements)when the aquatics are only open 90 days a year?

We have yet to secure a site or funding for City Hall and that will have to be done as the current property is to be redeveloped.  How much will that bond be?

Briarwood Park: $7 million dollars to tear out an existing NEW playground and put in a "natural" playground. Tear out a NEW bathroom and put in a new bathroom to "match" the other parks. (Just what a city should be known for - matching bathrooms)

Cost of a small pavilion in 2016 was ~$15K but 2 years later the city wants to pay $140K for a "small pavilion, albeit is will have a solar phone charging stations... (insert rolling eyes)

Brookhaven Park, Lynwood Park and Osborne Park have been approved by Council, but were never put thru a full city-wide vetting process with the community. 

Two DeKalb County Bonds are still being paid in our home-owners, property tax bills. 1st of these two will retire at the end of 2019 for a bond-financing value of $25M. We've been paying for years on a tax indebtedness and a portion of it is about to finally end, so the city jumps at that and says...it won't be an increase and it's for a 30 year limited time frame. (they just proved that another will just come behind it for more)

Project Estimates have escalated since 2016 and then have a 25% contingency built on top. Current Bond estimates have inflated drastically within the past two years and the City of Brookhaven believes it is completely due to construction increase, but assumed construction increases of 4%  - someone is using fuzzy math.

Points to consider: 

City-wide park improvements include three common features:

     small pavilions
     group pavilions
     bathrooms. 

Here are the direct comparisons for these three items over two years: 

Small pavilion: $15,000 est in 2016 / $140,000 each in 2018 bond 
Group pavilion: $25,000 est in 2016 / $280,000 each in 2018 bond 
Bathrooms: $120,000 est in 2016 / $390,000 each in 2018 bond 
A Bathroom will cost $390,000 + $97,500 = $487,500 each 
Murphey Candler Parks boardwalk went from $531K to $2.5M 
Lynwood Parks overall projects estimate went from $3.6M to $10.6M 
2016 Lynwood Park plan called for a $400K pool renovation with new $840K seasonal cover. The 2018 plan looks for $4.8 million Lazy River, new Lap Pool and complex. 

Final cost reports for the improvements at Georgian Hills, Skyland and Murphey Candler Park County Corner have not been completed and made public to confirm how tax-dollars have been used in the past.

Q: What will it really cost me?  I've heard it's just $100 a year for 30 years.
A: City taxes will go up approximately 66%, your school up over 9.5% , your county tax up over 4%. 

City: The parks bond would raise the city millage rate by half a mill, or an average of $98.34 a year to the average tax bill of a home assessed at nearly $466,000 or $21.10 for a home with a $100,000 taxable value 

School: “The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $250,000 is approximately $176.84 or $70.74 for a home with a $100,000 taxable value. 

County: That hike would roughly add about $51 to the bill of a home with a $100,000 taxable value. 

Your taxable Home Value and the estimated tax increase:

$100,000 = $142.84 
$200,000 = $285.68 
$300,000 = $428.52 
$400,000 = $571.36 
$500,000 = $714.20 
$600,000 = $857.04 
$700,000 = $999.88 
$800,000 = $1,142.72 Type your paragraph here.