City of South Fulton Bill Reintroduced in Legislature
Last year, the incorporation of South Fulton county into cityhood ran out of time for a vote, as the legislation got held up in the State Senate.
The final name of the city may change if approved by voters.
“We’re not under a deadline for boundaries. We are the last of incorporated of Fulton. Everyone knows what we are talking about. We have many more people that are allies. The same representative will introduce the bill, Roger Bruce. We don’t foresee any problems. We listened and met with Bruce and went over the bill again and want to be able accommodate all people or concerns,” Debra Bazemore, Chair of South Fulton United, told Atlanta Progressive News.
“Last year the bill was held. We had the votes to get it passed. Time ran out to get it heard. We haven’t had any major concerns from the people,” Bazemore said.
“But there are neighboring cities that are trying to entice these neighborhoods. We will continue having meetings and doing everything we can; personal meetings with HOA’s [homeowners’ associations] or large community meetings.
The City of Atlanta has been courting the unincorporated south Fulton communities of Loch Lomond and Sandtown. As previously reported by APN, Loch Lomond submitted an annexation petition that was rejected by the City of Atlanta for not adhering to the format and requirements.
“Atlanta is courting Loch Lomond… there is large number of people that want to annex, but you have to have 60 percent to annex. It’s very apparent that numbers aren’t there.” Bazemore told APN.
The feasibility study for South Fulton, completed by the Fiscal Research Center of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, showed at the low end, the city would start out with a revenue of 1.4 million dollars, and on the high end, 16.7 million. That does not include 20 to 25 million from the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST).
In order to reach as many of the 120,000 residents of South Fulton as possible, two smaller groups, offshoots of the main South Fulton group, are organizing under the same message and holding community meetings.
In 2014, APN reported that the citizens groups were raising money to pay off the debt of their feasibility study. According to Bazemore, they have paid down the debt to 3,500 dollars.
“We don’t know yet if we are going to have to tweak the feasibility study. If someone does annex, we may have to go back to GSU to tweak the study,” Bazemore said.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution on December 03, 2014: “Chattahoochee Hills recently tried to annex about 9,400 acres, a mix of commercial, industrial, agricultural and residential property. The city notified Fulton County of its plans in September, but the county Board of Commissioners rejected the annexation, in part because it lacked sufficient signatures. City officials plan to resubmit a proposal to annex about 4,920 acres.”
Mayor Reed of Atlanta, meanwhile, would apparently love to have Sandtown; he has gone as far as offering them a 10-year tax freeze, according to a source familiar with the matter.
“I think that joining a new City of South Fulton versus the City of Atlanta, I don’t think the decision is even close,” Reed told the AJC. “I think joining a City of South Fulton would be an awful financial decision.”
“Once the governor signs the bill, the boundaries are set, and no one can annex,” Bazemore said.