First Term Report Telephone Town Hall Recording 2/27/2024

Nearly 4,000 DeKalb County residents joined Commissioner Ted Terry’s Tele-Town Hall. Team Terry fielded questions from community members while Commissioner Terry was interviewed by Nemiah Plant about the efforts he has spearheaded to increase environmental sustainability, housing accessibility and equity within DeKalb County.
The tele-town hall took place on February 27th and was one of six town halls hosted by Team Terry to connect with residents and share his recently released First Term Report.

Telephone Town Hall Part 1

  • Introduction
  • Overview of the First Term Report

Telephone Town Hall Part 2

  • Poll Question 1: Which issue is the highest priority for DeKalb County?
  • Participant Question 1: Regarding County Improvements and Safety
  • Poll Question 1 Results
  • Follow Up Question: What policies have you championed that helped DeKalb County earn “GOLD” status on the Atlanta Regional Commission “Green Communities” score card?
  • Participant Question 2: Regarding Environmental Protection and Redevelopment of Areas

Telephone Town Hall Part 3

  • Poll Question 2: What community enhancement would mean the most to your family?
  • Participant Question 3: Regarding Transparency and Accountability
  • Poll Question 2 Results
  • Follow Up Question: You have been finding some innovative solutions to address this [housing crisis] problem, please tell us more about your Cottage Court ordinance.
  • Participant Question 4: Regarding Maintenance Repairs on Apartment Complexes

Telephone Town Hall Part 4

  • Poll Question 3: What element of the DeKalb Green New Deal interests you the most?
  • Follow Up Question: Can you elaborate on a key component of the DeKalb Green New Deal? And what steps have you already taken?
  • Participant Question 5: Regarding Zoning and Stormwater Drains

Telephone Town Hall Part 5

  • Participant Question 6: Regarding Affordable Housing
  • Poll Question 4: Which area of economic development needs the most attention?
  • Participant Question 7: Regarding Economic Development in South DeKalb
  • Poll Question 4 Results
  • Follow Up Question: As Commissioner, what have you done to help our neighbors find jobs to provide for their families?
  • Participant Question 8: Regarding Noise Pollution from Aircrafts
  • Closing: What are the top 3 priorities you have for 2024?

Thousands of DeKalb County Residents Tuned in to Commissioner Ted Terry’s Tele-Town Hall Event, Highlighting First Term Report

Community members had an opportunity to ask questions and engage with Commissioner Terry during the virtual event

DEKALB COUNTY– Last week, nearly 4,000 DeKalb County residents joined Commissioner Ted Terry’s Tele-Town Hall. Team Terry fielded questions from community members while Commissioner Terry was interviewed by Nemiah Plant about the efforts he has spearheaded to increase environmental sustainability, housing accessibility and equity within DeKalb County. 

The tele-town hall took place on February 27th and was one of five town halls hosted by Team Terry to connect with residents and share his recently released First Term Report

“It was incredibly exciting to have so many community members join me for my tele-town hall event,” said Commissioner Terry. “The achievements we’ve celebrated together over the past three years are a testament to the power of our collective effort and community collaboration. It was imperative for me to share this progress report with the residents of DeKalb—to highlight our shared victories and engage in a meaningful dialogue about our continued journey towards a more sustainable and equitable DeKalb.” 

Questions submitted by community members focused on the following:

  • Road improvements and other county improvements that impact public safety 
  • Preservation of green space and redeveloping spaces
  • Plans for continued investment in Southwest DeKalb
  • Property maintenance and zoning regulations
  • Stormwater policies
  • Development in South DeKalb and  South DeKalb Mall
  • Noise pollution from aircrafts

Commissioner Terry’s key accomplishments and future plans are detailed in his first term report, including: the development of sustainable housing projects, the promotion of green policies and initiatives aimed at enhancing community welfare and inclusivity. The report also includes a timeline of events and outlines how discretionary funds and funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) were distributed. 

Commissioner Ted Terry, Advocates Volunteer at DeKalb Animal Shelter, Call for More Volunteers and Adoptions

Dogs at The DeKalb Animal Shelter are not being walked for days due to being overcrowded and understaffed

DEKALB COUNTY– Last week, Commissioner Ted Terry (D-District 6) and advocates volunteered to walk dogs at the DeKalb County shelter, providing relief to animals that haven’t been walked in days due to a lack of volunteers. 

There are more than 500 dogs at the DeKalb animal shelter that are only walked every five to seven days. Commissioner Ted Terry and community advocates are calling for more volunteers and encouraging community members to adopt or foster.

“Whether you are volunteering an hour or two a week to walk dogs or choose to foster or adopt, you can help save the lives of the dogs at the DeKalb County animal shelter,” said Commissioner Ted Terry. “Through our collaborative action, we can improve the quality of care at the DeKalb County shelter and help transform it into a role model of care for the region.” 

Millie, a pit-bull mix, is a rescue and she has been an integral member of Commissioner Terry’s family since 2013. Our DeKalb County Animal Shelter has dogs of all sizes and breeds in need of love and ready to find their forever home. 

“The dogs at the DeKalb County animal shelter are deserving of dignity and love,” said Michelle Schretter, advocate and volunteer. “There have been many improvements at the shelter and the staff is doing all they can with the resources they have, but we need more volunteers so that these dogs can get more exercise and human interaction. We need these animals to be adopted or fostered. ” 

The DeKalb animal shelter is operated by Lifeline Animal Project, which has made significant changes to increase their staff and track daily progress at the shelter. Their goal is to reduce the number of dogs to 450 so that they can better serve them and ensure proper care and attention. Community members are encouraged to visit to find the perfect fit for their lifestyle and home.

  Those interested in volunteering can contact Brian Cooke at

Commissioner Ted Terry Kicks Off Series of Town Halls to Share His Newly Released First Term Report 

Team Terry launching six virtual and in-person community town hall events 

DEKALB COUNTY– Commissioner Ted Terry (D-District 6) has kicked off his town hall series to share his new first-term report and connect with his more than 300,000 constituents. The report highlights the strides made in environmental sustainability, housing accessibility and equity within DeKalb County since Commissioner Terry came into office in 2021. 

To ensure all residents have an opportunity to connect with him, Commissioner Terry will hold five in person town halls and one tele-town hall moderated by Nemiah Plant, Professor of Political Science for Middle Georgia State University. During the tele-town hall on February 27th at 6:30 p.m., 65,000 community members will receive a call and have the opportunity to ask questions and listen to Commissioner Terry and Plant’s discussion about his first term and his goals for the future.  

“Sharing our progress and vision through my first term report is crucial for transparency and collaboration,” said Commissioner Terry. “I am prioritizing reaching all residents because I want to hear from the people I serve and I firmly believe that together, we can shape a DeKalb County that truly reflects our shared values of sustainability, equity, and inclusivity.”

Commissioner Terry’s key accomplishments and future plans are detailed in his report, including the development of sustainable housing projects, the promotion of green policies, and initiatives aimed at enhancing community welfare and inclusivity. The report also includes a timeline of events and outlines how district discretionary funds and funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) were appropriated.  You can view the full list of town halls here. If you are interested in joining the tele-town hall, you can rsvp here.

DeKalb Super District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry Introduces Resolution to Reaffirm “No Kill Animal Shelter” Policy in DeKalb County

Aiming to Build A Community Where Animal Life Is Cherished and Shelters Operate With Utmost Humanity and Efficiency

Decatur, GA- Super District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry unveiled a pivotal resolution today, urging DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond to reaffirm* our commitment to the “no-kill animal shelter” policy. This step accentuates DeKalb County’s intention to ensure that animal welfare aligns with both modern best practices and the heartfelt wishes of its residents.

*the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners passed a no-kill resolution in November of 2017, affirming the support of the no-kill policy for the DeKalb animal shelter, becoming the 2nd county in Georgia to do so.

This resolution highlights:

  • Numerous communities across the U.S. have ended the killing of healthy and treatable animals in their municipal shelters, achieving placement rates of 95% – 99%.
  • The No Kill Equation, a comprehensive model of humane programs and services, has consistently proven its effectiveness, leading to a nationwide shelter death rate decline of 95% and promoting a shift from buying to adopting pets.
  • Traditional methods of managing animal shelter populations through killing are not only inhumane but also economically inefficient. In contrast, the No Kill Equation’s programs are cost-effective and present potential revenue opportunities.
  • Major corporations, such as Google, have recognized and praised communities that prioritize animal welfare, highlighting the appeal of such places to a “young, vibrant, pet-loving workforce”.
  • Ensuring public safety remains at the forefront, with No Kill mandates resulting in notable reductions in severe dog bite incidents.
  • Formation of an animal welfare task force made up of relevant departments, animal advisory board members, the judicial system, the Board of Commissioners, the Law Department and community stakeholders to review, advise and act on the full implementation of the “no-kill equation” program and policy framework.


“With this resolution, we are underscoring our deep commitment to both animal welfare and economic sensibility,” said Commissioner Ted Terry. “DeKalb County has the potential to set an example, illustrating how compassion, innovation, and accountable governance can seamlessly coexist in the domain of animal care.”

With the backing of strong bipartisan support and an overwhelming 96% of Americans advocating for robust animal welfare legislation, moving towards a No Kill ordinance is not just an ethical imperative but also a hallmark of responsive governance.

Commissioner Ted Terry encourages his fellow commissioners and the residents of DeKalb County, GA, to rally behind this resolution, aiming to build a community where animal life is cherished and shelters operate with utmost humanity, efficiency, and forward-thinking.

For more details or to schedule interviews with Commissioner Ted Terry, please contact Kelly Cato at

Dekalb County Commissioners Express Support for Okefenokee Swamp

Protecting the Okefenokee Swamp and Its Impact Yesterday, Today, and For the Future Generations of Tomorrow

Decatur, GA (10/24/2023) – The Dekalb County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution today expressing support for the Okefenokee Swamp in the face of a threat posed by a proposed titanium strip mine.  

By a 7-0 vote, the commissioners noted the ecological and economic significance of the swamp, expressed solidarity with South Georgia government entities that have spoken out against Twin Pines Minerals’ proposed titanium mine along the swamp’s hydrologic boundary, and also stated their support for state legislative action to protect the Okefenokee.  

“The Okefenokee Swamp is Georgia’s greatest natural treasure and is beloved by Dekalb County citizens,” said Commissioner Ted Terry, who introduced the resolution.  “Mining along the swamp’s boundary is simply incompatible with this priceless ecosystem.  Dekalb County joins numerous South Georgia local governments in urging the state to deny the permits for the Twin Pines project and urges the state legislature to pass the Okefenokee Protection Act that would permanently prohibit mining along the swamp’s boundary.”

Dekalb’s action follows similar resolutions passed by Ware, Clinch and Echols Counties and the cities of Valdosta, Waycross, Homeland and St. Mary’s that have expressed opposition to the mining proposal.   Those resolutions in turn followed over 100,000 comments submitted by Georgia citizens to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division earlier this year in opposition to the project’s permit applications. The Okefenokee Protection Act has been introduced in the Georgia House of Representatives the last two years.  The 2023 version has attracted 96 bipartisan cosponsors, including many from Dekalb County, and would prohibit mining on along the entirety of the swamp’s hydrologic boundary.  

Commissioner Ted Terry hosts ‘Green New Deal Summit’ to generate support for environmental policies


Published: October 16, 2023

By: Anila Yoganathan, contributor 

DeKalb County, GA — In an effort to generate support for environmental policies to redesign DeKalb County, commissioner Ted Terry hosted more than 100 residents at the Green New Deal Summit on Saturday. 

The all-day conference included discussions on how to conserve energy and save on electric bills at home and presented ideas on how to make the county more accessible by foot or bike, less dependent on cars, and how to protect the trees, especially during new development.

“Some of these things are kind of radical, like building tiny homes and preserving 50% of land for non-development. Like that’s kind of controversial,” Terry told Decaturish. “You need people who support that concept, they have to say that they support it because that’s how politics works.”

Each presentation highlighted current initiatives for the county, with the goal of getting residents to come and support these initiatives at the county commission.

The sessions included groups that are already working with the county on sustainability efforts, such as the Southface Institute, which spoke with residents on common myths on how to save on their electric bills or upgrade their homes to be more energy efficient. 

For example, if residents are interested in solar panels, they should consider making other changes to reduce their bills first and join a solarize campaign to crowdsource funding for buying panels in bulk rather than invest on their own, Southface Project Manager Jo’de Cummings said.

This is the Southface Institute’s first of five sessions for community engagement, and future sessions will continue to build knowledge, Terry said.

Presentations were also given by researchers and organizations that are promoting alternative methods of how to develop land in the county.

“I hope that I’ve convinced you we do not need to tear down a single tree,” said Ellen Dunham-Jones, director for Masters of Science in Urban Design at Georgia Tech, at the end of her presentation. 

Dunham-Jones presented proposals by her students on different areas in the county that could be redeveloped with a more sustainable lens. This included proposals from students going back to 2021 about how to redevelop North Dekalb Mall, the Gallery at South Dekalb, Memorial Drive, and Scottdale. The students spoke with property owners and community members to help inform their proposals. They also analyzed historic maps that helped inform environmental conditions. 

Some of these proposals are current areas that have been discussed for redevelopment in Dekalb, such as the DeKalb Farmers Market, which Dunham-Jones said plans to increase its operations and parking lot by about fivefold, and its plans are already approved.

“We love the farmers market. We absolutely want to be supportive. It is a fantastic asset to our community,” Dunham-Jones said. “But instead of having a massive urban heat island producing a lot of polluting runoff, this team [of students] proposed that instead the parking for the store [be put] in a parking garage attached to the new store.”

The land that would have been used for the parking lot could then be used to make a car-free neighborhood, Dunham-Jones said. The goal of more walkable areas includes increased accessibility for people who do not have a car or cannot drive, reduced traffic and reduced air pollution.

“Developers have had their run of DeKalb County for 60-plus years,” Terry said. “We can’t go back in time. So the best approach is to do two things: to conserve what we have and to make better use of what we’ve already done.”

The presentations were not only meant to educate residents on different ways of thinking about development in the county, but also how each of these issues is impacted by the county government’s planning and zoning decisions. 

“Because we grew up in the 50s and the 60s, we have lots of roads connecting low-density neighborhoods, right? What does that mean? It means we have potholes everywhere. Why? We can’t afford to maintain our roads,” Walter Brown, who presented information on trails, said. “So what are we doing with our SPLOST, a huge chunk of it … goes to repaving. Wouldn’t you like to see that money reprogrammed to sustainable transportation alternatives?”

Brown presented information about the county’s research into multi-use trails, which also comes as two trail expansion projects are being looked at in Commissioner Michelle Long Spears’ district two: the Emory trail expansion and the Peachtree Creek Greenway. The presentation included discussing the benefits to health, job creation, and environmental benefits. 

The final presentation pulled some of the prior discussions together by looking at village conservation communities where trees are preserved and land is used effectively. Greg Ramsey, founder of Village Habitat Design, said there is limited undeveloped land in DeKalb County. 

The program looks at undeveloped parcels clustered together or near one another and creates designs based on the parcels where development should go, where trails can be implemented, and where walkability and community infrastructure can be put. The approach prioritizes nature, urban agriculture, and development. 

“We need walkable villages and hamlets to bring local workplaces back so that it’s not an absentee neighborhood. Instead, it’s an active neighborhood,” Ramsey said. 

Commissioner Terry to Host DeKalb Green New Deal Summit on October 14

An event highlighting existing climate resiliency and climate change mitigation strategies while inviting attendees to be a part of a movement for a green, clean, resilient, sustainable future in DeKalb County.

DeKalb County, GA (9/14/2023)– Commissioner Terry is proud to host the DeKalb Green New Deal Summit at Georgia Piedmont Technical College on October 14, 2023. This free, all day event will highlight existing, successful climate resiliency and climate change mitigation strategies in DeKalb County while also inviting attendees to be a part of a movement for a green, clean, resilient, sustainable future.

Attendees will have the opportunity to:

  • Taste a Productive Urban Landscape with Roots Down
  • Tour Sustainable Housing Cottages with MicroLife Institute
  • Imagine the Clean Energy Future with Southface Institute
  • Ride on an Electric Bus with MARTA
  • Retrofit Suburbia with Ellen Dunham-Jones and Georgia Tech Students
  • Expand your knowledge of trail networks in DeKalb County with Commissioner Michelle Long Spears and Walter Brown, DeKalb County Commission District 2
  • Conserve nature with the Village Conservation Community
  • See the Sunrise from Arabia Mountain with Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area and Dekalb County Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Affairs—Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve
  • And so much more!

The climate is already changing, and DeKalb County residents are feeling these dangerous effects through high energy bills, flooding, heat, and extreme weather. The time for bold, urgent action is now. The time for a DeKalb Green New Deal is now. Whether you are a climate action champion eager to make connections, new to sustainability and want to make a difference, or curious how you can incorporate green initiatives into your own county or city, Commissioner Terry welcomes you to attend! RSVP HERE:

Key Details:

Date: October 14, 2023

Time: 8 am – 5 pm

Location: Georgia Piedmont Technical College

This event is free to attend. Light lunch and snacks provided.

The DeKalb Green New Deal Summit also includes an optional sunrise hike up Arabia Mountain on October 15, 2023 at 6:30 am.

DeKalb County asks voters to help fund mental health crisis center


Published: August 28, 2023

By: Ellen Eldridge

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners is asking taxpayers to chip in $15 million dollars for a new mental health crisis facility. 

Part of the proposed special purpose local option sales tax — or SPLOST— will help the DeKalb County Regional Crisis Center meet the growing demand for access to mental health crisis intervention and stabilization services, Commissioner Ted Terry said. 

The existing regional crisis center opened in 1997, and is currently the only designated behavioral health crisis center in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett and Newton/Rockdale counties for patients who are mostly uninsured adults.  

Terry said taxpayer dollars are best spent investing in community emergency mental health services because the alternative perpetuates a broken cycle.

“The DeKalb County jail is the largest mental health care facility in DeKalb County,” Terry said. “And everyone agrees, all the actors agree, that if you’re having a mental health issue, being in jail is the last place that we really want to send someone.”

But if there is an issue, people in crisis have to be taken somewhere, he said.

The cost to fund the $25 million project is shared among state and local governments, Terry said, and includes construction of a new building to offer emergency evaluation services; temporary observation and crisis stabilization units; a transitional residential program; and a peer support center that would also serve as a meeting area for local Alcoholics Anonymous and other substance use disorder groups.

“It really would be the first of its kind in the state of Georgia, really looking at the whole gamut of crisis intervention and recovery at one location.”
— Ted Terry

Shelby Roche, DeKalb County Regional Crisis Center’s director for crisis services, said the unit currently has 36 beds for people who need a temporary place to stay due to behavioral health illness. 

Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta is one of the other crisis receiving facilities in the area, but with the closure of Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center and other strains on the mental health care system, resources are stretched thin, she said.

“There is definitely a need (for more beds because) if the individuals don’t come to a crisis center for stabilization, they’re going to be crowding either our jails or our local hospitals,” Roche said. “And our hospitals don’t have the capacity to treat individuals.”

When complete, another 24 beds in the county’s transitional residential program will be available.

This is part of what Terry called a historic investment in improving access to mental health services.

“It really would be the first of its kind in the state of Georgia, really looking at the whole gamut of crisis intervention and recovery at one location,” he said. 

This is needed because of the growing demand for help related to social anxiety and depression, which worsened as the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to quarantine and cope with the psychological and economical effects of the pandemic. 

More than 36,000 Georgians have died from COVID-19, and more than 3 million cases of the infection have been reported, many of which resulted in long-term physical and mental health symptoms often grouped together as long COVID.  

Using public dollars on behavioral health emergency services keeps residents out of the criminal justice system, which saves money and improves lives, Terry said.

“We are spending literally millions of dollars every year on all of these other facilities,” Terry said. “By investing in this crisis recovery center, we’re not only making an investment in the health and well-being of our neighbors, our residents, and our citizens, (we) also (have) a way to divert individuals away from these more costly care models at the ER as well as at the jail.”

Voters in DeKalb County can approve the SPLOST on the Nov. 7 municipal ballot. If approved, construction on the CSU’s new building could begin in April 2024.


Atlanta-Based Nonprofit to Develop Roadmap to Eco-Friendly Future

DEKALB COUNTY, GA (July 31, 2023) -– As part of widespread efforts to improve sustainability in DeKalb County under the Clean Energy Transition Plan, Southface Institute, an Atlanta-based sustainable building nonprofit, has been selected to steer the county towards a future of 100% clean energy, defined as energy produced through means that do not directly pollute the atmosphere. Southface will develop an extensive energy transition plan to be presented to county leadership by August 2024 and will partner with four other organizations – Atlanta-based Cherry Street Energy, Atlanta-based Clean Cities Georgia, Atlanta-based IB Environmental, and Maryland based Energetics.

“Southface is excited to continue working with DeKalb County to set and achieve ambitious goals that benefit residents, businesses, community services, and the environment,” said James Marlow, President of Southface Institute. “With county staff, Clean Cities Georgia, Cherry Street Energy, and other sustainability leaders collaborating, this outstanding team has what it takes to make a real impact.”

Components of this transition plan will include recommendations on how to enhance the use of solar energy in municipal buildings, increase the number of clean energy vehicles, increase equity, and address “energy burdens” (the percentage of gross household income spent on energy costs) within the county. It will also include strategic opportunities for public education, which will begin as early as fall 2023. The funding for the plan came from the 2022 Fiscal Year General Fund Budget, an agenda item sponsored by District 6.

This partnership and plan development is another step towards making DeKalb a 100% clean energy county, a commitment the Board of Commissioners made in 2021 via unanimous vote. The 2021 resolution calls for the county to transition to use 50% renewable energy by 2025, and 100% by 2035. By 2045, the county would be using 100% clean energy community-wide.

DeKalb County Commissioner Ted Terry, a longtime environmental activist, champion of the Clean Energy Transition Plan, and leader of the DeKalb Green New Deal movement, says the partnership with Southface is a thrilling development that he’s been eagerly awaiting.

“Passing our transition plan in 2021 was a historic achievement. I knew even then that Southface was the right group for the job,” Commissioner Terry said. “Now and future generations need an action plan to save our planet, and that is exactly what we are developing with Southface and other tremendous environmental leaders. Together, we will make DeKalb a greener, more equitable place for all.”

Work on this yearlong project has already begun, partnering first with Energetics and IB Environmental to inventory greenhouse gas usage by government facilities and vehicles. Southface Institute will announce its initial public education and discussion sessions in August, allowing community members to get involved in this monumental process for the county.

Additional Partner Quotes:

As a small, local firm, IB Environmental is excited to be part of this project. Assessing and promoting energy equity for DeKalb County residents resonates deeply with our mission to increase the appreciation for water and energy resources, while promoting sound environmental policy through research, education, and action. We are looking forward to working with our partners Southface, Energetics, and Cherry Street to improve energy efficiency and low-emission strategies in DeKalb County.

-Stacey Isaac Berahzer, Founder and CEO, IB Environmental

“Energetics has a long history of supporting energy resilience planning and the development of clean transportation solutions, and we’re looking forward to working on solutions that impact the citizens of DeKalb County. We are equally excited to partner with Southface, Clean Cities Georgia, IB Environmental, and Cherry Street Energy to contribute our expertise to the development of the County’s Clean Energy Transportation Transition Plan.”

-Walt Zalis, Program Director, Energetics Inc.

“Clean Cities Georgia is excited to partner with DeKalb County on their Clean Energy Transportation Transition Plan. We have assembled knowledgeable partners with Southface, IB Environmental, Cherry Street Energy and Energetics. DeKalb is leading in developing sustainable buildings and transportation infrastructure. We think this is a model that can be replicated with other municipalities.”

 -Frank Morris, Executive Director, Clean Cities Georgia

“The Cherry Street Energy team is thrilled to support DeKalb County in its pursuit of this meaningful 100% clean energy goal. This project shows the leadership and commitment necessary to find impact for the community in the transition to renewable energy.”

-Michael Chanin, CEO, Cherry Street Energy

# # #

ABOUT Southface Institute

ABOUT DeKalb County Super District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry

Contact: Kelly Cato, Chief of Staff, DeKalb County, District 6,

Press Contact: Kae Holloway, Publicist,