Last night’s primary elections show that voters have approved a new city in Georgia. In what has been a series of new metro Atlanta cities (Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Milton, and Chattahoochee Hills in recent years), Brookhaven is slated to be Georgia’s newest city.
Cities are located in counties, as we know. When a neighborhood like Brookhaven is in a county and it is not an incorporated city, its tax revenue from property and businesses go to support the entire county. When a neighborhood incorporates into a city that changes. Some money will still go to the county since, after all, they will need county services (9-1-1, maybe even trash pickup and recycling). But, the city will need financial support to run new police, fire and rescue stations, water/ sewer, and city management for things like a chamber of commerce, business planning and licensing, and more. It will get that money from taxes. In this instance, DeKalb County will lose an estimated $22 million dollars when Brookhaven becomes a city. For a county already struggling to keep up with its finances, this isn’t necessarily a positive change for everyone involved.
It is however, an excellent opportunity to learn.
• Students studying government can take advantage of current events to learn about exactly how a city is born.
• Economics classes can evaluate the circumstances and create mock business proposals for replacing the $22 million loss and/or strategies for maintaining stable accounts.
• How many writing prompts can you create from this news? 1) Imagine you are creating a new town. What would you name it and what would it be like? 2) After sharing two articles on different sides of pro-new city or anti-new city, ask students to pick a side and discuss why they chose it.
Using news articles and current events is a creative way for students to see what they are learning in action.