Frequently Asked Questions2021-12-23T14:52:22+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions

The TRUTH about Franchise Fees2022-05-19T14:43:57+00:00

Franchise Fees and Cityhood

If a city is created will franchise fees increase my utility bills?

No. Franchise fees are fees you already pay, but since we are not a city, Vinings does not receive any of that money, which is a substantial amount according to the UGA Carl Vinson Institute – $915K a year.

 

“Franchise Fees are collected based on electric service inside or outside of city limits. If you live within the city limits of a city with which Georgia Power does NOT have a franchise agreement, you will pay as outside the city limits.” State of Georgia Public Service Commission

This is how it works…

GA Power

GA Power collects a municipal franchise fee from all non-city customers, based on power usage/charges. They also collect a municipal franchise fee from customers inside city limits. There is also an unidentified franchise fee on everyone’s bill (but it doesn’t show up on your bill, because it is included in the base rate). That’s another 1% of your bill.

All franchise fees collected directly and indirectly from all GA Power customers are put into a pool. The money is distributed to all GA cities in proportion to their size.

Natural Gas

A franchise fee is included in the base rate of all customers, but is only paid to municipalities. It doesn’t show up on your bill, but it’s there.

Telephone (land lines only):

Cities may, but don’t have to, charge a franchise fee to LAND-LINE phones. There is no franchise fee for cell phones. That fee can be up to 3% of the phone charges. Counties cannot charge this fee.

Cable

Franchise fees are identical for Cities and Counties. The fees are paid either to the County (in unincorporated areas), or to GA cities. And if you use a satellite provider, there are no franchise fees. According to professional research, currently residents of the unincorporated areas of Cobb pay a HIGHER cable franchise fee per capita than city residents. Research shows that the average for Cobb cities is $12.36 per capita, which is lower than unincorporated Cobb’s $15.85.

Why are franchise fees such a big deal to cities?
There’s real money out there…the fees will just come to the City of Vinings instead of going somewhere else around the state.
Are there even places left to develop in Vinings Village?2022-05-19T17:22:19+00:00

Of course!

Not only are there places to build, rezone, and develop in Vinings Village, but also in the surrounding area, the 895 acre industrial area specifically. As a community, we fought this highest density zoning two years ago. We will have to fight it again unless we become a city.

Please read this:

http://www.cceastcobb.com/rac-2020-proposal.html

If East Cobb is worried about this, how much more should Vinings be? Can you imagine the traffic down Woodland Brook and through our wonderful Vinings Village that already has too much traffic? It would be catastrophic!

Another area we continue to fight adding more density is The District right behind the QT.  Any area, including commercial shopping strips, could one day be rezoned for high density development. Do we want to take that chance?

We have been battling zoning in Vinings for years now. As a city, we would be in control of all zoning matters. It’s time to take a breath and stop having to constantly fight those who are putting their high density development goals of affordable housing over the Vinings community’s interest.

It would have been better had we formed a city ten years ago. It’s been talked about for 20+ years. Let’s not wait another ten years when it cannot even make it to the legislature, and it’s too late. The time to act is now.
Are all cities feasible? Is the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute credible?2022-03-17T01:16:20+00:00

Many cities are feasible, thus the nature of cityhood. Most cities are a great idea and beneficial to the people. Cities bring local control, a government closer to the people, and money for local projects. There have been a very few cities that have not been found feasible. This shows how much Georgians benefit from becoming a city!

Vinings cityhood opponents have alleged that the Carl Vinson study is unsound in methodology, always finds that proposed cities are feasible, and can be expected to find that a new city is financially feasible, because that is the result they are being paid to achieve.

The FACTS say otherwise. A great example is the City of Stonecrest. In 2013 the proposed new city of Stonecrest paid for a Carl Vinson study that concluded that the city would not be financially feasible because their expenses would exceed their revenues. Their Committee accepted those findings as accurate, redrew the city boundaries, and also changed some of their proposed city services.  Then they had a new study performed in 2015 that was positive for them.

The methodology argument is a mere opinion from rank amateurs questioning experts that have performed dozens of studies, and UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute is recognized as the “gold standard” by the Legislature that requires the studies in the first place.

From the Stonecrest website:

10. What do you say to those who question the credibility of the fiscal feasibility study done by the Carl Vinson Institute?

This is the same path many new metro cities have already taken. To question the sound judgment approach and credibility of our fiscal feasibility study, means to also call into question the practices of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government as well as legislative standards put forward by the Georgia State Assembly. The Stonecrest Yes Committee stood by our first CVI study when it was determined initially a new city of previously proposed size & budget would not be financially feasible. We made adjustments in city size and services for the second study. Those adjustments produced a favorable result.

The following cities used the Carl Vinson Institute for their Fiscal Feasibility Studies – in fact some on more than one occasion depending on pass or fail. They are either already established or well on their way to being so:

City of Dunwoody

City of Brookhaven

City of Peachtree Corners

Will my “Atlanta, GA 30339” address change if Vinings becomes a city?2022-03-28T15:50:28+00:00

No. Your address will remain “Atlanta, GA 30339.”

Today, some of us proudly use “Vinings, GA 30339” as our address. This is perfectly acceptable by the United States Post Office, and mail can be delivered.

However, from an official standpoint, our addresses do not change at all if Vinings becomes a city, and we would continue to have the mailing addresses of “Atlanta, GA 30339.”

The zip code 30339 includes other areas of Cobb County and even a little bit of Fulton County. Our awesome Braves have the 30339 zip code.

Our mailing address is regulated by the federal government and will not change.
Please click the link below for more detailed information:

(enter “30339” when prompted)

United State Zip Codes

Fact…

 

Unfortunately, some of you have been misinformed again by the people who don’t want local control.

Myth…

Also, please note that we would not be  “Vinings City.”

We would be “Vinings” as stated in the charter.

How were the city boundaries established?2022-03-21T14:01:12+00:00

From Gina Wright, Executive Director, Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office, Georgia General Assembly:

The geography being used is not census tracts.  It is census blocks, which are the smallest level of census geography that is used for all redistricting and mapping purposes by my office.  To have official population data for newly proposed cities, the General Assembly uses this level of geography so as to have the official population count associated with what is being included in any given map.  Census blocks are typically defined by geographic features- roads, rivers, railroads, power lines, or something of that nature.  They do not follow parcel or property lines in most cases which are not visible features and can be altered by the local governments at any time.

Census tracts are simply groupings of census blocks established by the Census Bureau.  My office does not use tracts for any purpose.

In the legislation you will see reference to VTD labels which are voting districts and equate to the most recent county voting precincts available at the time of the census deadlines.  For Georgia, these correspond to 2018 voting precinct boundaries.  Voting precinct boundaries (and therefore VTD boundaries) are established by each county.

There are places where census block sizes can impact what areas are included in a map or not.  Because their size and shape may encompass areas that are not identifiable as part of a proposed city, it may be that those blocks were not included in the initial footprint.  A city, once incorporated, can annex areas that it may not have been able to include initially and may do so through the various annexation methods, which would allow specific parcels to be annexed.

Do my neighbors want a City of Vinings?2022-03-22T12:59:40+00:00

A YEAR AGO in March of 2021 a survey was sent out to Vinings residents. It came back with overwhelming support of a City of Vinings.

Here are some comments from Vinings neighbors (you may even recognize yours!):

I am very supportive of decreasing the commercial properties that are impacting our traffic.

Yes, we should explore steps for Vinings to become a city.

Thank you for this feasibility study- I feel it is very important!

Zoning control is major concern.

Cityhood could have advantages; Cobb has underspent and underinvested in Vinings, so the credit would be less than the incremental cost of fully dedicated resources.  Appreciate your efforts.

I support a feasibility study including investigation of additional parcels for incorporation into Vinings should it become a city.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

We need to protect Vinings.

Less building and traffic.

Very concerned about zoning.

Opposition from developers should be anticipated and likely well funded.

Vinings needs to be a city of its own ASAP!

Great reasons to be some a city!

Although the pandemic has slowed everything down at present, zoning density, increased traffic and resulting pollution are destroying the small town feel of comfortable Vinings Village. Anything we can do now to correct/stop these issues are important for our future quality of life.

I would hate to see us annexed into Smyrna.

Being a city appears to be a good approach to self-government for at least the reasons enumerated by Ron Sifen.

We need to protect our area from excess traffic and further development.

I would like our neighborhood to have a lot more say in how our tax dollars are spent and in local development.

I believe it’s a good idea to keep the traffic from growing. We already have to wait multiple sequences to get through some intersections during heavy travel times.

Pursue city hood with minimal financial commitments for residents.

I can’t imagine making Woodland Brook 4 lanes. Our community would be devastated. The traffic is already worse. 4 lanes would make it like Atlanta road!

Would like more green space. Better police coverage (without having to pay for the VVHA coverage). Better speed control on Woodland Brook. I walk there all the time and there are too many speeders and fast moving large trucks.

High density construction is becoming more of a problem which leads to more traffic. Crime and police protection are more of a concern than ever.

Concerned about traffic congestion.

Need county taxes to enhance our community, not just further out in the county.

I support a feasability study, and based on those findings, probably cityhood for Vinings.

It would be good to have more control over zoning and its impacts on Vinings.

We need better control of zoning and traffic issues in Vinings.

I support Vinings becoming a city.

Strongly in favor…I don’t want to be annexed or have to fight annexation.

We need some croquet courts in Vinings. And a big dog park.

I believe it’s a good idea to keep the traffic from growing. We already have to wait multiple sequences to get through some intersections during heavy travel times.

I am concerned about the increased crime in Vinings and the increasing amount of noise that continues almost all day with the lawn blowers, trucks, tree trimmers, train etc. If we become a city, I would also LOVE for us to become a QUIET community!

Very much in favor.

This sounds like something we need.

I concur with most, if not all, of the reasons Ron set forth that it would benefit the community of Vinings to become a city. I applaud him for his interest in this, as well as his thoroughness in presenting the matter. We do need to guard against any further road “improvements”, stadium,, high density developments, and anything else that detracts form the overall quality of life most of moved to Vinings to escape in contiguous areas.

I am interested in exploring ideas. I have dealt with the City of Smyrna through our office on Atlanta Road, and find the city well run and efficient

Would love to see a park in Vinings. Do not want additional traffic on Woodland Brook.

Definitely do not want Woodland Brook to be a 4 lane road.

Like the idea of Vinings residents making zoning decisions.

Knowledge is power. I just think it’s important to know the possible impact of making Vinings it’s own city vs. the consequences of not making Vinings it’s own city. It’s that simple!!!

I am all for a city of Vinings, especially for zoning and traffic control moving forward. Please let me know how I might support this.

Please move ahead with this.

You probably know that the Vinings neighborhood has an active association, The Vinings Historic Preservation Society, mostly to preserve the historic sites. Their circulation, to my knowledge, goes to single family homes in the area. They would have a long list of neighborhood residents. Just an idea to reach out to as many people as possible.

Chattahoochee Plantation was a buffer against Atlanta but now Marietta and Smyrna are threats. A feasibility study is needed ASAP.

Its about time!! Ready to be a city “Historic Vinings”

Vinings is late to the game. Now is the time.

I’m extremely concerned about zoning, density and resulting traffic. In the last few years (with the pandemic exception) I’m finding it almost impossible to get out of my neighborhood during peak traffic times. The reasons to stay in Vinings are disappearing!

Agree, need zoning and traffic control now.

I THINK IT MAKES GREAT SENSE TO LOOK SERIOUSLY AT FORMING A CITY.

Interested in pursuing.

I think serious consideration should be given to cityhood for the purpose of self determination and to preserve our way of life before it totally slips away from us.

Would love to better understand the pros and cons of this proposition.

As long as traffic and high rises are minimized it sounds good.

I feel people who do not live in Vinings are making decisions which greatly impact those of us who do!

I would like to learn more and become involved in community decisions.

Interested in land minimums, private police force. Not interested in separate schools, as our children are in private school. I would support very strict guidelines on geography, aligned similarly to the Cochise Club.

I agree although the damage to the community has already been done. I think this would have been helpful 10 years ago.

I am concerned about continued commercial and high density residential development. I want to see the “Village” nature of our neighborhood continue.

Support the creation of the City of Vinings.

We need to be a city.

I have written to Bob Ott and the county about green space and parks in Vinings They always say it is too expensive. If you drive around Cobb County you will see all of the beautiful parks but none in Vinings. Many years ago Ron Siffen discussed Vinings becoming a city. It was ridiculed, so now Vinings Mountain and the tract of land by Home Depot and at the end of Woodlandbrook are gone. I would support Vinings becoming a city.

Lets make our own city

I am in support of exploring cityhood for Vinings.

Given the other cities around us looking into this, I don’t believe Vinings has a choice but to look into the possibility.

I would love a neighborhood park in Vinings. A park/ green space with trees would add beauty, value and a sense of community, great for kids and families. It would be so much better than another large apartment complex or high-rise. I would love to be in on the process to make this happen.

If this would help to improve the safety of our neighborhood, I am all in. Speeders, mail theft, and other escalating crimes are beginning to really ramp up. We should be vigilant in protecting ourselves.

I would like for our neighborhood to have more control over planning and zoning decisions

Would love to have more of OUR money spent on our area and not other areas.

I am VERY much in favor of looking at the options for Vinings to be come a city.

We need to 1) better control through traffic 2)Have greenspace/parks/jogging.

I am very much concerned about development, traffic and too much commercial business. I want to keep Vinings quaint and focus on public safety. Do It!

As long as traffic and high rises are minimized it sounds good.

Love Vinings (been here 25 years), and we’re appalled at all the changes. Happy to help in any way.

Prefer Vinings to be it’s own city and keep tax revenue and decision making local!

Priority is to keep the low taxes and crime that brought us here in 2001 after a 1 year home search.

I support the idea of cityhood. Thanks for initiating.

Very much in favor. Let’s get moving.

I am interested to know if cityhood would better position Vinings to withstand the deterioration that comes from overdevelopment and traffic congestion.

I initially replied to the query as to whether or not I thought that Vinings should become a city or not. Having said that, if one is going to start airing opinions, I would like to weigh in on the subject: In order to give some perspective to the situation, I have lived in Brandy Station since 1977, having built our home there over the course of preceding two years. I have seen the area change from a small community whose principal connection to the outside world was a one lane bridge over the Chattahoochee to one characterized by increasingly heavy traffic. During the course of the forty six years my wife and I have owned our property in Vinings, I have seen a lot of things change; some for the better, and quite a few for the worse. I am generally not in favor of big government, believing the credo that “the government that governs least, governs best”. However, I look at the incorporation of Vinings as a city as a much-needed buffer to continued high-density development, increased infrastructure to pay for the development, higher taxes to pay for the “improved” infrastructure, the increased traffic such development will bring, and, lastly, the increased crime that follows higher population density. Most of us moved to Vinings to avoid and escape similar problems in Atlanta. and other areas. I see the incorporation of Vinings as a city as a positive means of having control over our neighborhood and homes before it is too late and the Cobb County Zoning folks have bowed to the wishes of developers without regard to the adverse quality of our lives that such development will engender. Yes; I would like to see Vinings stay the same. However, the inexorable fact is that it won’t. Unless we take control of the zoning, our destiny is in the hands of others. I prefer to guide our ship ourselves, rather than let it be controlled by others whose interests are dissimilar to ours. I especially want to thank Ron Sifen for his research into this matter.

Keep the traffic and congestion down.

This would help vinings have greater control over development

Let’s protect Vinings and it’s history.

CITY PLEASE!

I am primarily concerned about zoning and development.

Sounds good!

Yes! Severely reduce traffic and reduce commercial and high rise buildings.

I do not want to see Vinings annexed into Smyrna or Atlanta.

As long as traffic and high rises are minimized it sounds good.

Per Ron’s email, the benefits of cityhood seem to be vast.

I think serious consideration should be given to city hood for the purpose of self determination and to preserve our way of life before it totally slips away from us
Always want to make it better if it makes sense. Crime and trash are terrible.

No additional tax!

I’m very concerned about zoning impact on Vinings especially because I live on Woodland Brook Dr.

Please pursue.

City of Vinings festivals, community events, include homes close to city center even if on other side of the tracks.

I am very interested in Vinings becoming it’s own city. All you have to do is look west to Smyrna/Mableton and East to Buckhead to see what’s coming. We need to act on this quickly to get our defensive “ounce of prevention” position in place.

Very supportive. I’d also love to know how cityhood might support our geographically local public schools.

I am totally in favor of Vinings becoming a city.

Yes! Cobb County government is increasing only thinking about revenue and growth at any cost.

I have been so sad that no green space has been put aside in Vinings! If you go to any other part of Cobb County there are acres of parks and recreational facilities!

Cityhood for Vinings!

Becoming a city would raise my taxes, right?2022-03-18T00:27:33+00:00

No. The UGA Carl Vinson Institute Feasibility Study (available here) determined that a City of Vinings would be financially feasible without raising taxes at all. In fact, the Vinson Institute determined that a City of Vinings would produce an annual surplus of more than $1.2 million just on the revenue that the City would be entitled to from day one.

 

Won’t this just create yet another layer of government?2021-12-23T14:07:22+00:00

It’s not a new layer of government – it’s just moving the responsibility for zoning to people that actually LIVE in Vinings. There will be no new services offered (except ACTUAL green space), so it’s just replacing existing County government with new city government. According to the UGA Vinson Institute Feasibility Study, we can do all this without raising taxes on Vinings residents.

Will becoming a City affect my senior (62+) school tax exemption?2022-03-10T13:00:26+00:00

No.  Although many people already consider Vinings a city, we are unincorporated Cobb.  A benefit of living in Cobb County is the senior (62+) school tax exemption.  Becoming a City will not change this at all for us, as this is a state law.  We will continue to enjoy this benefit as do all other cities in Cobb like Marietta and Smyrna.

Here’s more detail:

No city government in Cobb County can modify or eliminate the Senior Age 62+ School Property Tax Exemption on Primary Residences. The Cobb County and/or Marietta Board of Education cannot do so. The Cobb County Board of Commissioners cannot do so. The Cobb delegation (Cobb’s Senators and Representatives) cannot do so. Cobb County voters are the only people who could do so. Here’s how: See Georgia Constitution Article VII Section II Paragraph IV – (Georgia Constitution: Article VII, § I, ¶ IV); Current property tax exemptions preserved. Those types of exemptions from ad valorem taxation provided for by law on June 30, 1983, are hereby continued in effect as statutory law until otherwise provided for by law. Any law which reduces or repeals any homestead exemption in existence on June 30, 1983, or created thereafter MUST BE APPROVED BY TWO-THIRDS OF THE MEMBERS ELECTED TO EACH BRANCH OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN A ROLL-CALL VOTE AND BY A MAJORITY OF THE QUALIFIED ELECTORS OF THE state or the affected LOCAL TAXING JURISDICTION VOTING IN A REFERENDUM THEREON. Any law which reduces or repeals exemptions granted to religious or burial grounds or institutions of purely public charity must be approved by two-thirds of the members elected to each branch of the General Assembly. In essence, to reduce or repeal the Cobb County Senior School Property Tax Exemption requires legislative sponsorship by members of Cobb County’s Delegation (i.e. State Senators & Representatives serving Cobb), followed by 2/3rd majority support in each house of Georgia’s General Assembly. IF that were to happen, the ballot initiative would be presented to Cobb County voters where a majority vote would be required to adopt the proposed changes. To put this into context, Cobb’s state senate or representative candidates would need to get elected based on their pledge to raise property taxes on senior citizens, a demographic with consistently high voter turnout. Opposition to an exemption change would include many who are younger than age 62 who would soon be the beneficiaries of the exemption. It is unlikely the exemption will ever change.

Aren’t police and fire expensive services to provide?2021-12-23T14:13:00+00:00

The City of Vinings would provide three services:

Planning & Zoning

Code Enforcement

Parks & Recreation

Many feel that the county is doing a good job with police, fire, and the other services offered, and because of the expense, were not initially included in the city charter.

If at any time the citizens of Vinings want to add these services, they can be added.

 

 

What were the results of the professional poll?2022-03-17T01:53:09+00:00

Before beginning the Vinings cityhood feasibility initiative, the Vinings Exploratory Committee contracted to have a professional poll conducted with Vinings residents.

Landmark Communications, ranked one of the top 10 most accurate polling firms in the US, conducted this survey over the course of three days from March 14-16.  There is a margin of error of .056.

71% said that they support placing a voter referendum on the ballot so that Vinings could decide for themselves whether to create a city

12.8% opposed a referendum

16.2% were undecided

 

Will becoming a city make the Vinings Vision Plan obsolete?2021-12-23T14:17:04+00:00

Not at all!  Becoming a city would serve to strengthen and protect the Vinings Vision Plan.  We could even finally get that green space that has been in the plan for more than a decade now. We believe it is not possible to execute on the Vision plan without becoming a city.

What about getting more green space in Vinings?2021-12-23T14:17:23+00:00

One of the key services we plan to take on is Parks & Recreation and increase green space in the proposed city.

Has a survey been conducted to determine public support for a feasibility study?2021-12-23T14:19:04+00:00

A survey was sent out to hundreds of Vinings residents and the entire Vinings Village Homeowners Association membership before deciding to proceed with legislation for a feasibility study.   The results are as follows:

Do you support doing a feasibility study for a City of Vinings?

285   yes

46     I want to know more

39     No

A professional poll was also conducted (please see FAQ regarding the poll)

What is the best way to get in touch with the Vinings Exploratory Committee?2021-12-23T15:36:52+00:00

You may always reach out by email at viningsexploratorycommittee@gmail.com.  We will try to respond right away.

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