Since the earliest days of advocating for cityhood, we’ve been trying to emphasize that it was not an effort to “divorce” ourselves from DeKalb County. In fact, we have recognized that there are certain things we can do better as part of the county and certain things that are better accomplished by a more local government. For Tucker, those included planning and zoning, code enforcement and parks and recreation. So far, that’s proven true.
For everything else, we rely on our relationship with DeKalb. And that relationship has never been stronger.
DeKalb County handles everything from public safety to wastewater management to public works here in the City of Tucker. That happens through intergovernmental agreements – or IGAs – that we sit down and negotiate with leadership from the County. A consensus on those IGAs takes a lot of work, but DeKalb CEO – and Tucker resident – Mike Thurmond and his team have been proactive and positive as we’ve gone through this process. In the past couple weeks, we’ve made significant progress on the three big remaining agreements: Parks, Police and Public Works. Those three are issues the City and County have studied on many levels for several months. These things don’t come easily or quickly, but we believe we’ll soon announce some innovative partnerships that will be models for other cities.
Another example of this relationship is our coordination with the County in times of crisis. Last month, we sat down with Chief Sue Loeffler, who, as head of the DeKalb Emergency Management Agency, oversees the DeKalb Emergency Operations Center. This is the nerve center – which happens to be located here in Tucker – where critical decisions are made during severe weather or public safety emergencies for the entire county. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss lessons learned and areas we can improve our communication following the response to Tropical Storm Irma. It was a productive session that leaves us better prepared as we head into the winter weather season.
Tucker is making great strides as an incorporated city. You should know that our partnership with CEO Thurmond and DeKalb County are an important part of that. As we finalize these agreements and reach the end of our start-up phase, one of the things you can look forward to is greater clarity from the City and the County about exactly who does what and where to go for help or questions about your services. In the meantime, please call on me, your Council members or our outstanding City Hall professionals for anything you need.