Bill to Add Requirements for Cityhood Passed State Senate, Pending in House
(APN) ATLANTA — SB 375, a bill to provide stricter requirements for incorporation of new municipalities in Georgia, passed the State Senate on February 29, 2016, in a vote of 55 yeas to one nay. It is sponsored by State Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) and has been in the House Governmental Affairs Committee since before Crossover Day.
As previously reported by Atlanta Progressive News, last year, in 2015, a Georgia Senate Study Committee chaired by State Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) heard from experts on how to make cityhood more transparent, equitable and in the best interest of the citizens.
Sen. Parent tells APN that she believes citizens’ groups, including citizens involved with a new group, DeKalb Strong, which was formed in opposition to the LaVista Hills cityhood vote in 2015, were instrumental in providing input that led to the recommendations being included in the Committee report.
Some of the Senate Study Committee recommendations are included in SB 375.
SB 375 would codify the requirement for a feasibility study and ensure the study is prepared by a public academic research institution to validate the economic viability of a new incorporated municipality. Currently, that requirement has only been in place as an internal committee practice, but not in the Georgia Code.
SB 375 would require consideration of the financial impact of the new city on the remaining unincorporated part of the county and other cities in the county.
SB 375 would require that the county has enough taxes and fees to continue to provide county services after the incorporation of the new city.
SB 375 would require consideration of the financial impact of the new city on any pension obligations that may be left unfunded as a result of the incorporation.