(The Center Square) — A group of Georgia lawmakers has introduced legislation to incorporate a portion of Atlanta as Buckhead City.
Senate Bill 114 has been assigned to the Senate Committee on State and Local Governmental Operations-General. A similar measure failed during the last session.
“For nearly two decades there has been a reasoned process allowing residents to vote for or against cityhood for their community. While many votes have been successful, as recently as last year, several votes have failed,” Majority Whip Sen. Randy Robertson, R-Cataula, said in a statement. “Regardless of the outcomes, what matters to me as a legislator is that the people had the opportunity to decide for themselves.”
Georgia has seen a spate of cityhood movements in the past two decades, including the cities of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs to the north of Atlanta. However, last May, Cobb County voters rejected proposals to incorporate the cities of East Cobb, Lost Mountain and Vinings, though, in November, voters approved incorporating Mableton.
During a Wednesday evening virtual town hall, state Rep. Betsy Holland, D-Atlanta, and state Sen. Jason Esteves, D-Atlanta, anticipated the push might not have the level of support it did previously. They also pointed out that none of the nine sponsors of the bill hail from metro Atlanta.
“I don’t think you’re seeing the energy behind it that you used to,” Holland said during the town hall. “I also think people became a little better educated on the potential domino effect across the state if something like this were to go through, and I think it scared other municipalities who realize this could impact their bond rating, this could impact their ability to get money to build new schools or new bridges.
“I think what sounded like a pretty innocent idea two years ago sounded not that different than a cityhood issue like a city of Mableton or a city of East Cobb,” Holland added. “Now people realize that de-annexing a community out of an existing city and reincorporating it has very different ramifications for the state.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor