City of South Fulton Bill Reintroduced in Legislature
(APN) ATLANTA — State Rep. Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta) has pre-filed legislation, HB 27, to provide for a charter for a City of South Fulton.
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.
OK sports fans – 85% of the residents of unincorporated south Fulton county ALREADY voted overwhelmingly against a proposed city of South Fulton by ANY name in 2007. Here we are again, with yet another goat rodeo, because State Representative Roger Bruce, who is again seeking relevance, wants to form an ill-fated “Black” city like Lithonia or Detroit with no credit and no commercial tax on the backs of residential taxpayers to fulfill as usual “his” personal interests. How many times will residents have to endure a redo because a group of politicians want to form a new power base? Do Roger and other powerless South Fulton Legislators like LaDawn Blackett Jones, Ronnie Mabrey, Donzella James and Virgil Fluud think we are STUPID???
The residents are being held with a gun barrel pointed at our head. The tactic is fear. We are being told that we will have to pay more taxes than the others in the county if we do not form a city. I say take the issue to court.
What are the options in south Fulton? Create a city, create multiple small cities, or maintain the status quo. The annexation laws should be made stricter, alternative forms of quasi-governmental communities should be considered, private residential associations communities and special districts could also be alternatives to cityhood.
New municipalities can impact taxes, school districts, land-use, growth control, environmental regulations, elected representation and public utility services. New municipalities can lead to fragmentation and competition for financial resources between local governments.
The process of forming cities should require a petition before an organization or person can represent themselves as speaking for the community or in the name of the citizens.
There are a lot of unanswered questions that citizens in south Fulton do not know about in terms of the form of government the new proposed city will have. What kind of mayor or city manager will this new proposed city have? Will the city council be strong? What kind ethnics review will be in the charter?
There should be a way for citizens in South Fulton opt out of the new city if it does not want to be a part of the shot gun city.
The citizens of Fulton would be better served if someone would file a court case against the county and the other cities in regards to the tax liabilities and pension obligations that are not being shared by all the property owners of the county. How can a new city such as the city of Sandy Springs, Milton or Johns Creek not be equally responsible for pension and bonds that were already obligated prior to their cityhood make no sense.
It would be equally appropriate if our political leaders in Fulton ask the State Legislators to amend the annexations and consolidation laws to prohibit hostile takeovers, without the consent of the governed. Some states have laws that require the cities to make up for the lose revenue of the county.
It seems that shotgun cities are appearing all over the Fulton County. Who will pay the county bills once all the local communities become cities? The state legislature should stop this cityhood movement in the county. The county needs leadership on this issue. The citizens should not remain silent on this issue. The real motive or hidden agenda is to split Fulton county.
Mayor Reid is correct. If we form a new South Fulton city vs having a property in the city of Atlanta our home values will take a serious financial hit by changing over to a unproven no name community.
At least now most of us have an Atlanta Georgia home address even though we not in the city. Commissioner Eaves was also quite frank and correct when he informed us that we have a third option, and that is to maintain the status quo and remain as we are!
The South Fulton guy who commented earlier on this subject got it right! There are a number of unanswered questions,uncertainties, and minefields that lie ahead for our potential new city.And the politicians pushing for it may not be acting in our best interest as opposed to their own interest in creating new positions.
Our voices were loud and clear in 2007. Let’s stay the course!!!