Fri Aug 28, 2015
GEORGIA SENATORS EYEING CHANGES IN CITYHOOD PROCESS
by: Dave Williams
Atlanta Business Chronicle
Aug 24, 2015, 3:10pm EDT
A Georgia Senate study committee kicked off a series of hearings Monday that could lead to changes in the way new cities are formed in Georgia.
Representatives of city and county governments told committee members the current process doesn’t guarantee input to all of the voters and taxpayers who could be affected by any given cityhood proposal and could use a dose of transparency.
Starting with Sandy Springs, the General Assembly has passed legislation to form seven new cities in Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties during the last decade, and voters in those communities have approved each in turn. Proposals to form the cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker in northern DeKalb will be on the ballot in November.
On Monday, an executive with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) said county taxpayers in some cases are forced to pick up the tab for services provided in new cities, including those who live in other parts of the county.
“We can’t cut the services the cities are not providing,” said Todd Edwards, the ACCG’s associate legislative director.
That’s a concern particularly in new cities that adopt the so-called “cityhood lite” model, which limits cities to providing as few as three services while depending on the county for the rest.
Forsyth County Attorney Ken Jarrard questioned the legality of cities adopting the cityhood lite approach because of provisions in the state constitution that require cities to provide a minimum number of services to residents.
Even advocates for cities, who support the ability of local residents to form a new city, suggested changes in the current cityhood process that would lead to greater transparency.
Tom Gehl, director of governmental relations for the Georgia Municipal Association, called for stricter notification requirements when a lawmaker introduces a new cityhood bill to make sure all of those who would be affected are aware of the proposal.
The study committee is due to report its findings to the full Senate by Dec. 1.
THE CITY LITE CONCEPT IS MISLEADING AT ITS CORE
Regular cities in Georgia, like Cumming, are ripping off their counties with a combination of LOST, SPLOST, Annexation, etc. with legislation that is already written into our Georgia laws. Why should the legislators and Georgia residents be surprised at these new developments concerning a "City Lite".
The concept of a "City Lite" misleads our citizens, some of who are not paying attention, into believing that they will be voting for one entity (city lite), but in reality, they will actually be getting a much larger entity (regular city) that is already spelled out in the Georgia Constitution.
Wake up sheeps! THIS IS A BAIT & SWITCH PROGRAM.
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