South Fulton Cityhood Referendum Passes Senate Committee, Heads to Senate Floor
(APN) ATLANTA — House Bill 704, to create a referendum on the incorporation of the City of South Fulton, is moving along; and is expected to make the November 2014 ballot this year.
On March 13, 2014, the bill passed the State Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee.
Some amendments were added to the proposal that seemed to make the powers that be happy.
Changes to HB 704 since it passed the State House include: the Fulton County Industrial District will not be included in the proposed city of South Fulton; the referendum vote on cityhood will occur on November 4, 2014; if voters approve the proposed city, the two year transition period will begin after April 1, 2015 and after the election of a Mayor and City Council; the election of a Mayor and City Council will occur on the third Tuesday in March, 2015; and elected officials will take office May 1st, 2015.
Another change is that the boundaries of the new city will be remaining areas in unincorporated South Fulton, with the exception of Fulton Industrial, as of August 1, 2014. This will allow existing cities in South Fulton to have the chance to annex what would otherwise be non-contiguous parts of South Fulton, or islands.
As recently reported by Atlanta Progressive News , the effort for the City of South Fulton has been led by those under the Dome with little input from the community.
The community, however, is speaking out regardless.
Dan Young, a resident of the Sandtown community, told Committee Members the economic base is not there to support a city.
“22 percent of the households do not pay any property taxes at all,” Young said of the proposed city of South Fulton, according to the Georgia Unfiltered blog. “That is only going to increase. Fulton County has a growing aging population, which means more houses will be taken off the tax rolls.”
State Sen. Vincent Fort, whose district encompasses a large part of the proposed city, told Committee Members of an informal survey of residents of the proposed city.
“There’s a 4.9 percent margin of error. The question was, ‘Do you support the City of South Fulton? 71 percent said no. When you ask more information, it goes up to 82 percent. The majority of my constituents are against it. No poll that I’ve seen shows that a majority of the constituents that I serve support a City of South Fulton. Bottom line. The time has not come and essentially what I’m concerned about is people who want a city of South Fulton are telling the people of Sandtown to drop dead. You’re saying to them this is going to be effective the day the Governor signs it, as opposed to the day of the election or sometime beyond that. That’s not fair.”
House Bill 704 then went to the Senate Rules Committee, where it was approved for a vote on the full Senate floor during the last two days of the Session: either on Tuesday, March 18, or Thursday, March 20, 2014.