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Some Legislators Call for a Slow Down in the Cityhood Movement

Would you vote for a City of South Fulton?

The debate for a separate city of South Fulton seems to have a pretty even number of supporters and opponents, as more and more voices calling for a "slowdown" begin to emerge as the AJC reported on Christmas eve.

The AJC says there are lobbying groups on both sides, trying to push their agendas but those who are calling for a pause want a, "moratorium to examine the harm that creating new municipalities does to the revenue collected by the counties they are carved from."

There is currently a trend in the state for enclaves and regions to become cities of their own.  South Fulton is one of the latest that the legislature will look at this year.  Though its autonomy and other benefits may sound like a good idea, it is also true that recently formed cities have run into some growing pains and obstacles.

The AJC article laid out the current struggles that various new cities around Atlanta are facing.  Dekalb County legislators will see 7 proposals for new cities in the upcoming session, and some in South Fulton worry that they may face the same struggles as their nearby predecessors:

  • Brookhaven's 2014 budget nearly doubles the city's legal fees, to $415,000, from costs projected in its feasibility study. The jump follows a high-profile and ongoing case against the longtime strip club Pink Pony and a headline-grabbing legal fight with neighboring Chamblee.
  • Peachtree Corners launched in 2012 amid gripes about a $2.7 million budget, almost four times higher than projected, and a 90-day halt on business licenses that paused development.
  • An in-house investigation cited Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker on allegations of conflicts of interest and other ethical questions that were similar to the sorts of complaints about Fulton County leaders that prompted the city's creation. Voters returned Bodker to office, though tension in City Hall remains.

What side of the debate are you on?  Do you like the trend towards cityhood.

Isis5467 January 06, 2014 at 10:20 AM
I was waiting to see how long it would take for this connection to be made. If past legislation was approved for South Fulton to become a City, why should we slow down now. Our situation is not comparable to DeKalb. Further, where is the data to support an even distribution or any distribution of yeah or nay? I'm hoping South Fulton residents will continue to struggle to control their destiny as our neighbors in North Fulton did. We are not turning back, we will not be fractured and we will not be annexed.
Harvey Davis January 06, 2014 at 12:39 PM
With all due respect to city-hood advocates, we don't yet have the numbers saying a City of South Fulton is financially viable. A feasibility study is required by state statute as part of the process to vote a second time on this issue. Whether you agree or not I have reservations with a ready, fire, aim mentality in the absence of objective and independant DATA: http://www.georgiaunfiltered.com/2014/01/state-representative-says-south-fulton.html
Rodney Littles January 07, 2014 at 12:07 AM
With all due respect to GA Unfiltered he has not done any due diligence to confirm the Elected's statement. South Fulton United, Inc. has engaged independent professionals to estimate the financial viability before they advocated for Cityhood. Professional budget Analysts determined that the current operating deficit for the Special Services District that funds City Services cannot Continue without a new source of revenue. As a City we would have received close to $15 million a year in Local Option Sales Taxes according to County officials. Which would have been $90 million had we created the City 6 years ago. The preliminary review of the Study (being paid for from donations to South Fulton United supporters) confirms this and adds another several million dollars in franchise and user fees the new City would collect. Even Commissioner Edwards has said publicly that "the infrastructure is now in place that was not in place before to make the new City viable". So the choice is about "self determination" not money!!! I VOTE YES for Cityhood.
BCrane January 07, 2014 at 08:34 AM
According to the preliminary fiscal report from Georgia State University, the proposed new city of South Fulton would have approx. $70 million dollars in revenue (including the Local Option Sales Tax dollars and Franchise Fees) and approximately $50 million dollars in annual expenses. The City of South Fulton would be financially viable! The question becomes, "why send more than $23 million dollars out of our community?"
Harvey Davis January 07, 2014 at 09:10 PM
The LOST dollars proponents bank on for viability are negotiated by state statue by all Fulton municipalities and Fulton County so the fact of the matter is NO ONE can say with any measure of certainty what a potential City of South Fulton would get. Fulton County and its 14 cities must all agreed to a formula that will determine how local sales tax revenue gets returned, so saying $15 million in LOST dollars comes with a new city is just a guesstimate.
Isis5467 January 07, 2014 at 09:53 PM
Don't respond or you'll be roped into an ever ready battery conversation. Have faith!
Harvey Davis January 08, 2014 at 09:09 AM
Hosea 4:6
Harvey Davis January 08, 2014 at 01:52 PM
For those who do not want to look Hosea 4:6 up in the Bible: "my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge."
Rodney Littles January 12, 2014 at 11:07 AM
The South Fulton Legislator's meeting January 6th was well attended. Arguments for and against we heard from all that chose to comment. The opportunity to have the voters decide in a referendum is now in the hands of the State's General Assembly which starts this week. The comments were strongly in favor of determining our own destiny and capturing revenue the Unincorporated City of South Fulton does not currently receive were the best arguments to form a City. It was pointed out by State Representatives Bruce and Jones the process will have its challenges but Cityhood is a better choice than breaking up our community and have parts of it annexed into the Cities of Atlanta, College Park, Union City or East point , etc.
Rodney Littles January 14, 2014 at 07:52 AM
Meeting was held on last Thursday January 9 th.
Rodney Littles January 19, 2014 at 07:53 PM
South Fulton Civic Leader comments on Commissioner Edwards town hall meeting on January 23rd. See video interview: http://youtu.be/fzSUrOPY7Sw
Harvey Davis January 19, 2014 at 09:07 PM
State Representative Sharon Beasley-Teague expresses serious concerns about feasibility of a potential City of South Fulton and that getting the feasibility study - still not available, so late in the session will make it difficult for legislators to make a decision. No word yet on when supporters of the city can raise enough funds to pay for the long promised feasibility study so it can be released for the public and legislators to review. See video interview: http://youtu.be/l8P-ugADZmw
South Fulton Guy January 25, 2014 at 01:41 PM
Yes when like deceived lemmings we further the wishes of Fulton Republicans and power hungry Democrats who want to form an ill conceived City of South Fulton, it will be the death nail, the county will be out of the municipal business and the doors will be wide open for north Fulton to create Milton County leaving crumbs and ashes for whats left for us.
Isis5467 January 25, 2014 at 02:45 PM
Who are the real stakeholders for or against the city? Does Atlanta want additional residents to shore up their voting strength? If so, the move would be to break up the whole Uninc. South Fulton to get what they want. Does College Park want more commercial area to help with their budget? If so, they may try to annex whatever which would be another move to break up the whole. East Point, Union City and Fairburn may not want anything. Suppose the real goal is to prevent cityhood from happening so that the real stakeholders can do whatever they please with buy in from the state to annex via legislation. That would make it a clean political move with the state being responsible and no local political entity being responsible. We may all be victims of whatever entity is controlling us that don't want us to become a city. Let's stop bickering with each other and get the real facts.
South Fulton Guy January 25, 2014 at 06:00 PM
Isis5467 What we do know for a fact is that this City-hood Bill is cosponsored by Republican Ed Lindsey
South Fulton Guy January 25, 2014 at 06:40 PM
Fact #2 in the past seven years after 85% of voters rejected a City of South Fulton there HAS NOT been a massive land grab through annexation. Those interested in the facts should know you can not be annexed against your will. Here are the five ways that can happen in GA: http://www.gmanet.com/MDR.aspx?CNID=20717
Isis5467 January 25, 2014 at 09:19 PM
If 60% of residential voters want to go in, they can. If 100% of commercial land owners want to go in, they can. If the State says we will be annexed, we will by legislation whether we want to or not so let's be real. I'm not going to engage in back and forth on this. I want people to know the truth. At this point there are too many untruths floating in the atmosphere to purposely confuse people and scare them into not considering cityhood. We can stick together as other demographics do instead of what we traditionally do and what always gets in our way, ego!
Rodney Littles February 02, 2014 at 08:49 PM
FACT: State Rep Roger pre filed HB 704 before January. He circulated the bill amongst the Fulton County House Delegation in January when the session started and the draft if the Study was released. Rep Lindsey and other Fulton County House Delegation members signed on that were from both parties. The idea for the bill came from South Fulton United, inc. South Fulton United, Inc. is a group of concerned citizens of unincorporated south Fulton County, Georgia passionate about preserving our quality of life through the viable option of cityhood.
Rodney Littles February 02, 2014 at 08:52 PM
State Representative Roger Bruce HD 61 is the prime sponsor and author of the Bill HB 704 for City of South Fulton referendum.
South Fulton Guy February 03, 2014 at 03:50 PM
Rodney, These posts sound more like an attempted vindication of Roger Bruce's lackluster legislative record than what is in the best interests of the residents of unincorporated South Fulton. 85% of the people said resoundingly NO in 2007 to a new city and now because a "handful" of folks lobby Bruce to ask us to vote yet again, we have to endure a do over so republicans can get their Milton County at our peril? Folks it's OK to leave the plantation....
Rodney Littles February 11, 2014 at 07:41 AM
First, Roger 's record as a member of the minority party in the House speaks for itself and is not what you say it is. But you are entitled to your opinion my friend. By the way people who support Cityhood asked him to carry the bill after getting residents from around the new City area to sign onto the effort. The bill puts a referendum on the ballot to vote in the bill does not create a City. Your comments are less than fair about him. The handful if folks you talk about represent 60 subdivisions in South Fulton and number over 100 volunteers and donors as of today. Maybe if you did not hide behind an alias and throw stones I could take your comments more seriously. People were misled and confused the last time they voted and the supporters counted on one politician to make up their minds. He switched from voting Yes to vote No at the last minute and many people stayed home. 80% of the eligible voters did not vote at all. This time a group of HOA and civic members of our "City" of unincorporated South Fulton is counting on the intelligence of the voters and is going door to door educating the community of the Facts for creating the City: Local Control Balanced budget with a surplus No Annexation Fact: This is not about Milton County! This is about self determination and stopping the RED ink we have been enduring despite record tax increases 4 of the last 5 years. People were told that their taxes would go up if we became a City in 2007. Guess what we voted it down and taxes went up!! The $10 million in sales tax revenue only a City would have received in 2007 amounts to over $20 million now. So we left over $90 million of LOST revenue on the table to reduce our tax rate or at least keep it from going up as a result of nay sayers back in 2007. Well, I am not following the crowd that says No to Cityhood. I am following South Fulton United and if given the chance will vote YES FOR CITYHOOD. http://south-Fulton-united.com Get the facts and do not fear the truth it will set you free.

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