Eight years ago on the 12th of December, Brookhaven, Georgia, officially began operations as Georgia’s newest municipality. From those early days to the present, the community rallied around progressive policies of creating livable and workable spaces for all of its citizens. In that effort, the City Council has proposed and supported the creation of a Public Facilities Authority to creatively use Hotel/Motel taxes to fund the construction of the Peachtree Creek Greenway. We assisted in carrying out that vision by drafting the legislation for the Georgia Legislature to enact and then fighting in Court when some did not want to see the Greenway proceed. When ultimately complete, the Greenway will run from Duluth in Gwinnett County to the Atlanta Beltline. Phase 2 of the Greenway is already in the planning stages.
Similarly, the City took the unusual step of seeking its first General Obligation bond to fund park improvements. On the way there, Brookhaven became one of only 5 cities in Georgia with a AAA rating from 2 different credit rating companies. This allowed the City to borrow money at below market rates and save taxpayers millions over the life of this loan. Working with the City’s leadership and finance team, we drafted and defended the documents necessary to get these projects off the ground.
Finally, the Council has been responsive to the needs of all of its citizens. When faith leaders challenged the Council to care for “the least of these,” the Council quickly established a Housing Task Force and then implemented the recommendations of that Task Force. As cries for reform to policing echoed around the Nation, Brookhaven’s Police Department responded to demonstrate what it was already doing to address those concerns, with the Council’s support. As the discussion evolved to include other social justice issues, the Council established and quickly moved to appoint the Social Justice and Equity Commission to bring disparate communities together and seek common solutions to systemic problems. Our efforts as advising the City on police policy have encouraged and facilitated these changes and discussions.
That’s a lot for a small city in the midst of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area in its young life. We have been humbled and proud to be a part of those efforts for the last 5½ years. The Mayor and City Council continue to express and exhibit confidence in the work and advice they receive from our firm.
Happy Birthday, Brookhaven, and thank you for allowing us to be part of your journey.