Letters To The Editor

Dear Editor,

The Eagle’s Landing Education Research Committee (ELERC) held its first public open forum last night about the de-annexation of Stockbridge to form the new city of Eagle’s Landing. No questions from the public were allowed at ELERC’s open public forum. When Senator Emanuel Jones (the senator for Eagle’s Landing) attempted to ask a question, they would not let him speak. When they finally gave him the microphone at the very end - after the demands of the almost 500 person audience - they refused to cut on the microphone, stating that it would be a liability issue. When faced with the question of how it would impact Stockbridge, ELERC’s chair replied with, “I don’t know.” She then suggested that maybe Stockbridge was spending too much on services.

ELERC presented slanted facts to the community. They told us about the three services they plan to offer: zoning, parks and rec, and code enforcement. They claimed that our taxes would not be raised because franchise fees would pay for these services. What they did not mention was the 1.5 million (estimate based off of Stockbridge’s contract) that would have to be paid for police services to the new city. They did not mention the cost of sanitation that would also have to be paid. They did not mention the cost of renting office space and paying full-time employees to manage and render the services they wish to provide. They did not mention the initial start-up cost needed for the city to even be operational and able to respond to citizen needs. 500k-800k (being generous) in franchise fees will not pay for this. Citizens would have to pay an additional city tax that ELERC is refusing to acknowledge.

Instead of mentioning these things, they highlighted their desire to create a city where the median income is 100k a year so that they could attract new, higher end shops and restaurants to Henry County. They claimed that restaurants such as Cheese-cake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, and Bonefish Grill would not come to Henry County because the median income was too low. That is simply not true.

The median household income in Stockbridge is $48,296. The following figures (2010 Census Data) apply to cities with those restaurants already in residence:

California Pizza Kitchen - Norcross - $44,728 median family income

Cheesecake Factory - Buford - $42,546 median family income

Bonefish Grill - Buford - $42,546 median family income

All three of those locations have a lower median household income than Stockbridge; yet, they have those restaurants. This is not about attracting high-end retail and eateries. This is about creating a city of segregation based on socioeconomic status. As they create this community (of which I would be a resident), they would also be hurting the citizens of Stockbridge and the city itself. However, only citizens of the new town would be able to vote on becoming a new town. Stockbridge citizens, who would be just as affected, would not be allowed to vote.

I wanted to say all of this last night, but ELERC did not care about public comment. They only wanted people to jump on their bandwagon. Last night was not a public forum. Last night was a group of citizens joining together to push an agenda that would be harmful to both themselves and the City of Stockbridge. On their Facebook, ELERC cites a Henry Herald article that Senator Jeffares is prepared to introduce legislation regarding this proposal. I am appalled that any state legislator is going along with this plan. I am even further appalled that said legislator did not think to ask the citizens of Stockbridge at-large their opinion before considering such legislation.

I am calling on all state legislators to, at the very least, solicit the opinions of all citizens affected by such legislation before dropping it this term. To do otherwise would be to ignore every principle of representative democracy on which our Republic was built. You have all taken an oath. I implore you to fulfill that oath. Listen to your people.

Thomas White,
Eagles Landing