Atlanta Would Take Over Policing, Trash, Permits After Emory Annexation

The city of Atlanta is expected to welcome Emory University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and nearby properties in unincorporated DeKalb County to the city in January 2018.
Credit Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Atlanta is expected to welcome Emory University and a few nearby properties to the city next year.

If approved through a vote Monday by the Atlanta City Council, 744 acres in unincorporated DeKalb County would be annexed into the city of Atlanta, effective Jan. 1, 2018.

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Transfer Of Services

On Jan. 1, the city of Atlanta would also take over trash and recycling, new business permits, and Atlanta Police Department officers would start patrolling the area.

DeKalb County will continue to provide fire services through an intergovernmental agreement. The Atlanta Public School system boundaries are expected to change in July 2018 for school enrollment purposes.

Nearly all of the land belongs to businesses or institutions. It includes property owned by Emory University, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia Power Co. and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The annexed area also includes 20 residential homes.

MARTA Routes

MARTA’s Assistant General Manager Ben Limmer said the annexation would not affect existing service or routes because the land is within its three-county service area of Clayton, Fulton and DeKalb counties.

“We would have to make minor adjustments to some of our publications like maps that show jurisdictional boundaries,” Limmer said. “But by and large, there are no significant modifications that need to be made to MARTA infrastructure to support our services.”

New Transit Funds

New city of Atlanta transit funding would be available for the area, where transportation has been a big issue.

“We are looking at ways to expedite the construction of the light rail system as well as additional bus services,” Limmer said. “The annexation does add additional opportunity to greater serve the Emory and CDC campuses, with that half-cent sales tax referendum dollars.”

Last year, Atlanta voters passed a 40-year half-penny sales tax to expand MARTA.

Clifton Corridor Project 

Limmer said with more funds available, a decade-old proposal called the Clifton Corridor light rail project, which has been on the drawing board since 2005, could be one step closer to reality.

With the annexation, about half of the 8-mile light rail project from Lindbergh to Avondale Estates falls within the city of Atlanta, which could fund half of the project. But DeKalb County has not yet said whether it will fund the other half.

“As of now, 50 percent of the local funding required has been identified,” Limmer said. “We would need additional local monies from DeKalb County in order to finance the construction of the remaining half of the Clifton Corridor that will reside outside of the city of Atlanta.”

Limmer said light rail lines nationally cost about $150 million per mile and the city of Atlanta’s 40-year half-penny sales tax is expected to bring in about $65 million per year. Limmer said MARTA intends to seek federal funding for the project, which is near the top of its priority list.