Feasibility Study: City of South Fulton is Financially Feasible
(APN) ATLANTA — This year, the legislative docket is full of more attempts at incorporation than the Metro Atlanta has seen in many years. Some citizens of south Fulton County are trying to incorporate a City of South Fulton, which would incorporate the last remaining unincorporated area in all of Fulton County. Meanwhile, some citizens in DeKalb County are pushing one or more of the various cityhood proposals, including Briarcliff, Lakeside, Tucker, and Stonecrest.
Fulton County also remains under a threat of a possible de-annexation of the northern part of the county and the creation of Milton County.
According to a recent study by Dr. Peter Bluestone and Dr. John Matthews, both of the Fiscal Research Center at Georgia State University, the City of South Fulton would enjoy a surplus of 6.8 to 17.5 million dollars in its first year of cityhood.
The data was compiled from multiple sources. The first was using data from Fulton County’s 2012 fiscal year; the second was from conservative estimates of cities of similar size and makeup; the third was derived from interviews from current service providers.
The study does not include elements like social, political, or governance issues. The report is a simple revenue and expenditure breakdown, including city services and property taxes.
The City of South Fulton would generate more of its revenue, unlike Fulton County, from the LOST (Local Option Sales Tax). The revenues calculated from the LOST tax were calculated from the current expenditures of the SSD (South Fulton Special Services District). Fulton County does not currently utilize the LOST.
According to the SSD, property taxes will hold at approximately 28 million dollars, with the majority of that figure coming from commercial and industrial properties. This could mean good news to residential homeowners, who should not see too much of an increase if incorporated.
Currently, in South Fulton, there are 16.4 percent of households living under the poverty level; the average annual income of South Fulton is $51,192; the population is 91 percent African-American, 5 percent White, and three percent Hispanic; 71 percent of individuals in South Fulton are over the age of 18.
The report also notes important trends in South Fulton, including the doubling of its population in just the last few years.
The report notes that the feasibility is conditional on a proposed City of South Fulton having expenditures lower than some of its higher-spending counterparts across the county.