“Mayor Of Buckhead” Not Keen On Milton

Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition and former Mayor of Atlanta, has decided to weigh in on the proposed split of Milton County from Fulton with a “No” vote.

After Massell was defeated for re-election in 1973, he became the defacto voice of the Buckhead and North Atlanta areas, and is still affectionately known as Buckhead’s mayor.

His position, issued via the following press release, is significant because it represents somewhat of a shift in the coalitions that make up Fulton County Politics. Massell could often be counted on by those who felt their interests were not being represented at City Hall to be their point man, and he could often be counted to raise (and resolve) issues on their behalf.

But with Massell favoring the status quo for Fulton, he now finds himself squarely aligned with those at both City Hall as well as those in the Fulton County Government complex.

Time will allow a proper measure of the seismic nature of this shift, but as of now, Buckhead’s power center is aligned with Fulton, and not the folks North of the Chattahoochee.

Full press release here:

Former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell Says Georgia Taxpayers Will Foot the Bill for New Milton County

Legislation to Create New County will cost Georgia Taxpayers $6.3 Million for starters and $3.2 million annually

Last year, under the direction of the Georgia General Assembly, the Carl Vinson Institute of Government and the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies analyzed the “potential” impacts on state agencies of creating a new Milton County. The purpose of this study was to review the feasibility of implementing House Resolution 21, authored by House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones. The two institutions identified all state agencies that may be impacted, then contacted Commissioners and Directors of those agencies to participate in a survey to guage the impact.

The study revealed that first-year state agency costs would reach an estimated $6.3 million, and subsequent annual costs for ongoing services were estimated at approximately $3.2 million. This does not include the costs for instating other constitutional officers such as the Sheriff, District Attorney or Judges.

“I think the citizens of Georgia should be aware that this is not just a local issue for the City of Atlanta or Fulton County,” stated former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell. “While it is true that the City and County will suffer the effects of creating a Milton County, it is Georgia taxpayers statewide who will ultimately foot the bill for it.”

Massell, who is Chief Executive Officer of The Buckhead Coalition, pointed to the disturbing state of Georgia’s economy as a big concern. State elected officials have all said that this year is a year when every dollar will count.

“Our state is facing terrible cuts in education, cuts that will force university system tuition increases for students and their parents. There are thousands of transportation projects across the state waiting for funding. Teachers and other state employees are facing lay-offs. Given the extreme state of our economy, why would any public official advocate that Georgia taxpayers be charged an extra $6.3 million for services for a portion of the state that has only 300,000 residents, and includes the 9th wealthiest community in the country? That’s a question that every Georgia taxpayer should be asking their state legislator,” he added.

Examples of What $6.3 Million Could Fund:

* $6.3 million would protect half of the University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension Services – services that support the agriculture industry in Georgia which contributes $92 billion annually to the state’s economy. It would also protect the Archway Partnership Project ($1.1 million) that addresses agricultural and environmental needs in local communities. There are Archway projects currently in Colquitt, Washington, Glynn, Clayton, Hart, Sumter, Pulaski, and Whitfield Counties. Cuts to these programs are currently being considered.

* $6.3 million is equal to approximately 10% of the funding allocated in 2008 by the Georgia General Assembly to stabilize Georgia’s trauma care system. Funding is still needed, despite the $23 million in funding expected to be generated by the new Super Speeder law. Enhanced trauma care is greatly needed particularly in the southern part of the state.

* The Georgia Association of Educators indicates that the average teacher salary in the state of Georgia for 2008-2009 was $53,270. $6.3 million would save the jobs of some 119 classroom educators across the state.

* Columbus State University is facing potential budget cuts that could force lay-offs of 44 members of the faculty and staff, including tenured professors. The school has been directed by the University System of Georgia to cut $6.1 million from its budget.

70 comments

  1. Republican Lady says:

    Some could claim that Fulton County took advantage of the old Milton County, because Milton was too poor to support their citizens. Now “Milton County” citizens have the financial resources to support the county and feel they are no longer represented in Fulton. They want things to go back to the way it was prior to the Great Depression. I guess the arguments for or against Milton County depends on whether one lives in North or South Fulton.

    http://bellsouthpwp2.net/e/d/ednastrickland/index.html

    Milton County was formed in 1857 from parts of Cherokee, Forsyth and Cobb Counties. Portions of DeKalb and Gwinnett counties were annexed in 1859… Milton County was a very poor county. There was only one paved road and no school buses. Fulton County wanted to expand and promised Milton County paved roads, school buses and a better school if they agreed to a merger. Roswell, which was never a part of Milton County, was also approached. In 1932 Milton County, along with the city of Roswell, became part of Fulton County.

    • macho says:

      Whether you agree with taking Milton back or not, a major problem is they want to reach into the original Fulton County and take some of that land with them.

      To say, “Fulton County took advantage of the old Milton County, because Milton was too poor to support their citizens,” is a very unique way of looking at the history. Fulton agreed to take over a bankrupt, rural, farming County of Milton during the Great Depression. It obviously couldn’t have been a self-serving move, since Milton was unable to support itself on its own. Somehow I doubt, that the charitable fathers of Fulton were able to see into the future and envision the endless cookie-cutter McMansions, Red Lobsters and Old Navy’s that are the soul of North Fulton today.

      If this state really wants to save some money, it should figure out how to cut in half the obese 159 counties we already have, instead of trying to create some more governments. Give me a break, are we trying to have the most counties of any state in the Union?

      • ACConservative says:

        Republican Lady, you might want to pick up a history book. The merger came about in 1932 because Milton County was insolvent and unable to pay for things like roads and schools.

        Those hoping to create Milton County still have to figure some things out, like how to pass a change to the Constitution that would allow for additional counties. That, or convince two counties, somewhere, to merge. Both will be hard to do, especially the later, since government mergers means some elected officials loose their j-o-b-s.

        In the end its not going to matter, the folks that live in John’s Creek and Sandy Springs are just new money hacks that can’t afford to live in Buckhead. The only reason “Milton County” is no longer a collection of podunk cesspools is because of “white flight”.

        • Republican Lady says:

          If you re-read my post, I gave a website stating that Milton County was a very poor county. There was only one paved road and no school buses. I gave the site and did a copy and paste with the rest. So why should I need to pick up a history book when I posted the information you restated in different words?

      • Republican Lady says:

        I never said I agreed with it, just repeated things I have heard others say about the merger in 1932. I wasn’t living then so I don’t know other than what I hear other people say and what I read when doing an Internet search.

  2. macho says:

    It’s a big waste of time and money, because the chances of this surviving the VRA are about zero. Let me see here, a bunch of rich white people want to have a monopoly on their elections. If only George Wallace, Strom Thurmond and Jimmy Carter had thought of this when they were running for Governor. Forget about trying to deny poor blacks the right to vote, just carve out a new whites only city or county out of an existing mixed race government.

    I’m not even a fan of Section 5, but can see this is precisely what it’s designed for, especially under an Obama DOJ.

    • Andre says:

      The question of whether resurrecting Milton County violates the Voting Rights Act centers around two questions.

      The first question is this:

      “Does the resurrection of Milton County have the effect of discriminating based on race, color, and/or membership in a language minority group?”

      That question, in itself, is very subjective. Someone like Vincent Fort would say that re-creating Milton County is discriminatory. However, someone like Jan Jones would say the exact opposite.

      The second question, which I believe is even more appropriate to ask, is drawn from the Justice Department’s webpage:

      “Does the resurrection of Milton County deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group?”

      I would say that, contrary to what race pimps may lead people to believe, Milton County does not deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.

      House Resolution 21, the so-called Milton County bill, is a constitutional amendment that would be voted on by every registered Georgia voter regardless of race, color, or membership in a language minority group. If, for example, a group of Asian, Hispanic, or black voters desired to organize against H.R.21, they could do so without any interference from the state.

      It seems to me that if the Justice Department failed to give pre-clearance to H.R.21, they would be an activist Justice Department legislating from the bureaucracy.

      The Attorney General is not an elected official and neither is any staffer within the Civil Rights Division who might recommend that the Attorney General object to H.R.21 being submitted to the qualified voters of Georgia for their ratification or rejection. Now I ask you, what kind of slippery slope might the Department of Justice be on if they determine that allowing every Georgian –regardless of race, color or membership in a language minority group– the right to vote on H.R.21 is a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

      What kind of slippery slope might the Justice Department be on if they decide that allowing the people to vote on re-creating a “historically existing county which was merged into another county” denies or abridges the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group?

      On a final note, I’d point out that race pimps like state Sen. Vincent Fort are the only ones injecting race into a debate over a large, bloated, dysfunctional government being split into smaller government that is closer and more responsive to the people.

      • AubieTurtle says:

        “being split into smaller government that is closer and more responsive to the people”

        That’s what cities should be for. Georgia erred long ago when it handed over the ability to offer city services to county governments. County governments are not a good structure for non-rural areas. Sandy Springs and Johns Creek should have been in a city structure long long ago (the City of Milton is debatable on this point). It was ridiculous that those areas were being governed directly by a county.

        Stop allowing counties to act like cities. If the people of a county want cities services, they can form a city or join in an already existing nearby city. You get the smaller closer to the citizen government without turning counties into de facto cities. Let each level of government do what it was designed to do instead of muddling the line between what is a city and what is a county.

        • Jmart says:

          Hammer meet nail head! The people living in these sprawl zones should never have expected city-like services from a county in the first place.

          The way that counties in this state operate as cities not only contributes to unchecked sprawl but I think is a big part of the reason so many Georgia cities are struggling.

      • AubieTurtle says:

        BTW, I do agree with you that VRA shouldn’t be an issue here. There are many reasons why the situation is really dumb but very little of it has anything to do with the voting rights of any racial group. Even if we were to accept that the people in north Fulton want Milton for purely racial reasons, that still doesn’t make it into an issue of voting rights.

        • macho says:

          If it doesn’t matter from a VRA standpoint, then it sounds as if it would have been the ultimate loophole. Majority / ruling class white people of the 60s, just carve out your own cities and leave the blacks on their own civic islands. I think you’ll be surprised to see a spirited, and successful, VRA complaint, if this issue ever gets far enough.

      • macho says:

        “historically existing county which was merged into another county”

        Trouble is the recreation aspect is a fallacy. The new Milton, will be reaching into the predominately rich, white part of old Fulton County and taking it with them. It’s not a “recreation,” it’s a “creation.”

        Not sure it it matters that HR 21 is voted on by everyone across the state, regardless of minority status. The Federal Government has not been shy about standing up to majority rule in the past. The actual vote on HR 21 is not a violation of the VRA.

        I agree with you on the activist DOJ part. I don’t agree with Section 5 of VRA, but Obama, and his DOJ, are about as activist as it gets.

      • macho says:

        Andre-

        Keep in mind the burden of proof under current Section 5 jurisprudence is on the covered jurisdiction. The people of Milton would go from being under a majority black commission, to probably a 100% non-black commission. So I don’t think it would be too far of a stretch to show “the effect of discriminating based on race or color.”

      • Mozart says:

        I think the county of DeKalb is quite discriminatory. It is prejudiced against competent leadership and county management.

  3. AubieTurtle says:

    Though I am 90% sure it could never happen, Milton County is one of those issues that pols love because they can use it to stir up resentment in the electorate but never get anything done about it. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Wasn’t it those who were pushing for it in the legislature the past couple of years the same ones who slammed on the brakes when it looked like they actually had the votes?

    From a theoretical perspective, it is an interesting question of how would the debts and assets of Fulton be divided up. When the new cities of Fulton came into recently being, giving some of the assets wasn’t a big issue since the cities remained part of Fulton so everyone was still on the hook for the debt that created the assets. But if Milton was to be recreated, surely those holding Fulton County bonds would drag the whole thing out in court. The argument for Milton is that it is a wealthy area and would be in a better financial situation without the rest of the county, which should also then put the rest of the county in a worse financial situation. That would impact the value of Fulton County bonds. The bond holders wouldn’t take that without a fight. If they did, the precedent would be set for all kind of crazy schemes.

    Theoretically, if Milton was allowed to break away without being held responsible for enough of the county bonds to not impact the bond holders, then 99.9999% of Fulton County could break away from itself, leaving the last 0.0001% holding the bag. It’d be a great way for governments across the nation to clean the slate and start over debt free. That’s not something that anyone other than perhaps a few cities drowning in bond obligations would want to happen so no one can allow the precedent to happen.

    When I’ve mentioned this to those who are interested in recreating Milton County, the argue until blue in the face that they shouldn’t be held responsible for any of the county bonds because they believe they’ve more than paid their fair share. What I’ve never been able to get through to them is that the bond holders don’t care one little bit about who paid what or what anyone feels in their heart is fair. All the bond holders care about is the money due and the value of the bond being impacted by a change in credit rating of the entity responsible for the debt.

    All of that aside, the balkanization of metro Atlanta is good for something… if you’re Denver, Austin, Seattle, or Charlotte. While we’re fighting over who gets which crumb, those metros are working to big old slices of pie. While they certainly compete against each other, they’ve figured out that a house divided upon itself cannot stand. Meanwhile we’ve become the leader in the nation of relocating corporations in death spirals. NCR and Spectrum Brands aren’t prizes we should be crowing about, especially after losing solid companies like Georgia-Pacific and BellSouth.

    In the end however, if it is possible for Milton to be recreated and does so inside of its historical borders (associated bits of Cobb aside), I doubt it would be as big of a deal to Fulton as many think. The center of the county has been growing pretty well and most positive measures such as wealth are up at the same time that the Milton area may have hit its apogee. Time will tell…

    Whatever happens, expect the issue to continue to be used for political gain for quite some time to come.

    • macho says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more here. It’s the ultimate gift that keeps giving. Same reason, in the age of Obama as President of the US, that Jesse and Al will keep yelling that America is a racist country.

  4. Dave Bearse says:

    +3 for three in a row—the two responses to Andre and the independent comment directly above.

  5. polpol says:

    VRA (DOJ) will never approve a single referendum that allows those that want to leave with no voice from those left behind.

    • macho says:

      What I’ve been trying to say, but you did a better job. It would be the ultimate set-up. Just do it down the line, from school districts to cities, to keep poor black people from having a say it rich white people’s lives. Might as well take it a step further and let Buckhead vote on unannexing from Atlnata.

      Mind you, I’m no demagogue and disagree with Section 5, I’m just predicting how this thing will play out.

  6. Progressive Dem says:

    Dunwoody was formed over the objections of “those left behind” in DeKalb. They took Perimeter Center, where the County has invested a good deal of money there, and taxes went up in DeKalb after Dunwoody was formed.

    I’m not crazy about the idea of forming more cities, but it is a helluva better idea than forming more counties. It will take years to unwind the financing and existing agreements regarding Marta, Grady, the criminal justice system, water interconnections with adjacent counties, and a thousand more details. In the meantime local customers are not getting served while all this reorganizing is being done. I don’t believe it is worth the effort. Change the government, ask for help from civic groups, but don’t create another one.

    • macho says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Let’s cut the number of counties GA has in 1/2, and incorporate cities. Get rid of the all the crap Fulton does, from a police force to welfare programs. Let the cities take care of it and Fulton can simply serve as a vehicle for a Judicial circuit. To me that’s more conservative government, then trying to add to the already ridiculous amount of counties GA has.

        • Andre says:

          Macho,

          Believe it or not, we aren’t too far apart on the issues of county governance here.

          I agree that counties should only provide those essential functions required by state law. If residents of a particular area want city-like services, then they should be in a city.

          That’s why I’m glad that state Representatives Ed Lindsey and Kathy Ashe have introduced a constitutional amendment that would require counties that are more than 80% municipalized to get out of the city business.

          There is no reason for a seven-member Fulton County Commission to be voting on quality-of-life issues for an area that is only 66 square miles large. Tom Lowe, Lynne Riley, Robb Pitts and John Eaves have no business voting on police and fire coverage in an area that they don’t even live in.

          I continue to hope that Fulton County will become completely municipalized so that all its residents can have smaller government that is closer to the people.

    • B Balz says:

      I am hearing that for some Counties, the issue du jour is consolidation.

      Taxes in DeKalb did go up, and while it is easy to blame the Dunwoody incorporation, facts do not prove this point. The loss of tax revenues, less expenses for Dunwoody are far less than any tax increase.

      Prog Dem knows durn well, or should know, that the property taxes for Perimeter still goto DeKalb.

      I wish we could change DeKalb and FULCO mindsets, but there is too much philosophical distance.

      • Progressive Dem says:

        I stand corrected. Taxes did not go up in DeKalb when Dunwoody left. Revenues did decline however. The biggest hurt was business license fees for all of the businesses at Perimeter Center. That was several million. Other revenues losses were hotel/motel, intangble tax on life insurance policies and I believe Dunwoody negotiated a portion of the HOST sales tax revenues for capital projects. Dunwoody is negotiating to acquire the 100 acre Brook Run park where DeKalb built a skateboard facility.

  7. macho says:

    I think if this does happen, to be fair, you have to leave Sandy Springs in Fulton County. The majority of Sandy Springs has always been in Fulton County, and you shouldn’t allow another county to come in and cherry pick the best assets.

  8. macho says:

    Another problem I have with HR 21 is the language is intentionally vague to confuse voters. I thought the GOP was supposed to be all about transparency. The language needs to clearly state they are recreating Milton County and taking away a good bit of the original Fulton County. It also needs to be clearer to the voters that they are voting on a Constitutional amendment.

  9. foray says:

    Milton County is the best thing that could happen to what is now Fulton County and the City of Atlanta from a long term sustainability standpoint-

    Fulton County – 80 miles long has a population greater than 10 states and is ungovernable-

    It is nice to see that folks in South Fulton are looking to break away also- the future is an Atlanta-Fulton County like many of the other urban areas in the State

    • macho says:

      Fulton County is not even in the top 35 populated counties nationally. County government is not supposed to be for governing on the micro level, that is what cities are for. The State of GA has more counties than any state in the Union minus one. We should be looking to reduce the amount of GA counties.

      With your logic, we could say the State of Georgia has a population greater than 134 countries, it’s ungovernable, so we should see about dividing it up.

      • Dave Bearse says:

        Logic? The guy doesn’t even get his facts straight. There are no more than 8 states, and probably only 7, with populations more than Fulton’s, and about 40 US counties with populations . Geez, that’s five times as many states that have populations less than Fulton’s.

        Along those same line of reasoning, Sam Olens is more qualified to be President of the US than Sarah Palin.

    • NonPartisanGA says:

      Newsflash Andre Walker does not speak for South Fulton wanting to split off anymore than he did a few years ago on forming the city of South Fulton when the movement he led lost 85 to 15 percent at the polls. He speaks for himself not as a South Fulton leader or the token Black Liberal PP Poster.

      • ByteMe says:

        He doesn’t speak as the token Black Liberal PP Poster? We have someone else for that supporting role? Is the role similar to security personnel on the USS Enterprise… maybe one spoken line and then dead a few seconds later?

      • Andre says:

        NonPartisanGA,

        Just so you know, I’ve never claimed the mantle of a leader of unincorporated south Fulton County. The leader of that plantation is none other than Fulton County Commission Vice Chairman Bill Edwards.

        I’m just observing all the legislation introduced that will affect south Fulton County such as House Resolution 21, House Resolution 1589 and Senate Resolution 1198.

        And I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

        • NonPartisanGA says:

          Andre Bro,

          I was responding to the comment “It is nice to see that folks in South Fulton are looking to break away also- the future is an Atlanta-Fulton County like many of the other urban areas in the State”

          You were the only advocate on this post they were obviously referring to that wants for SF to split off. As a student of the legislative process and a longterm GSU student you know very well introducing legislation is quite different getting it passed in one house, then passed in the other and then being signed into law by the GUV and passing DOJ muster.

          We haven’t forgotten that you are still waiting on the City of South Fulton and Hillary’s presidency too .

          Full disclosure time dude, are you getting paid by the Milton County Task Force now?

          • Andre says:

            NonPartisanGA,

            In the words of Mariah Carey, why are you so obsessed with me?

            Foray was not “obviously referring” to me because I have not advocated for unincorporated south Fulton County to split off in this post.

            It is possible that the commenter known as “foray” was referring to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article where Laurie Searles of the Chattahoochee Hills Civic Association said, “I think Fulton County is too large to serve its population. If they rolled back and formed a smaller Fulton County, I think it would be better.” [Ellis, Ralph (2010-3-1). No love lost between Fulton, cities. Atlanta Journal-Constitution.]

            Searles is certainly a leader of south Fulton as is Union City city manager Steve Rapson who correctly says, “If the citizens of Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and Milton thought they’d been heard, I don’t think those cities would be in existence today.”

            I support the division of Fulton County because the county is too big for its britches; it is dysfunctional; it is the epitome of government waste.

            A fine example of this is the recent AJC article that demonstrates the wasteful spending by the county commission on a clerk’s office that performs many of the same duties as the Secretary of the Georgia State Senate [Visser, Steve (2010-3-10). Fulton County’s million-dollar clerk. Atlanta Journal-Constitution.]. Maybe, NonPartisanGA, you can explain why the Clerk to the Fulton County Commission has nearly the same budget as the Secretary of the Senate even though there are fewer county commissioners and fewer documents to be archived and printed.

            I’m not, as you say, “still waiting on the City of South Fulton.” That ship has sailed. Master Bill Edwards successfully kept his people on the big government plantation while Chattahoochee Hills and every other newly-created municipality declared their freedom.

            I’m simply observing how inefficient it is for a county government to provide city-like services to an area of about 68,000 acres — especially when 95% of the county is municipalized already.

            I’m observing how most comments in this thread seem to support the notion that Fulton County should only perform those constitutionally-mandated functions such as conducting local courts of law, voter registration and elections; selling motor vehicle tags; filing official records of property ownership; building and repairing county roads; probating wills; and administering welfare and public assistance programs.

            I’m observing how if HR 1589 is enacted, it will result in getting Fulton County out of the city-like services business.

            And I’m observing how, sooner or later, the residents of unincorporated south Fulton will be in a city — whether it be Union City, Fairburn, East Point, College Park, Hapeville, Palmetto, Chattahoochee Hills or Atlanta.

            As I’ve previously stated, I’m no leader of south Fulton. I’m just a private citizen making observations and noting those observations on a blog.

              • Andre says:

                Dave,

                I was talking about the Secretary of the Senate, not the Secretary of State.

                The Secretary of the Senate is an office than performs many of the same functions as the Clerk to the Fulton County Commission. Those functions being: Keeping an accurate record of daily proceedings in Senate Chamber;Tallying and records all votes on motions and legislation;Producing the “Order of Business” for each legislative day; andIndexing all legislation for reference purposes among others. [SOURCE: Secretary of the Georgia State Senate] In short, the Secretary of the Senate is equivalent to the Clerk of the House which is also equivalent to the Clerk to the Fulton County Commission. All three positions are designated as the official keeper of records for each of their respective legislative bodies.

                The difference is that the Secretary of the Senate is a state office. The Clerk to the Fulton County Commission is a local office. The Secretary of the Senate deals with 56 state senators on a daily basis, not to mention the dozens of lobbyists and ordinary citizens who grace that office with their presence. The Clerk to the Fulton County Commission only interacts with seven county commissioners.

                The Secretary of the Senate has multiple copies of all 1,800 bills and resolutions introduced by members of the Georgia Senate during the 150th session of the Georgia General Assembly. I can assure you that no where near that many ordinances are introduced by the Fulton County Commissioners.

                And finally, the Secretary of the Senate has a budget of $1,229,925 [SOURCE: FY2010 budget]. The Clerk to the Fulton County Commission has almost the same budget even though that office deals with fewer commissioners and fewer pieces of legislation.

                Again I ask, how is the bloated budget of the Clerk to the Fulton County Commission not systematic of the rampant government waste that plagues Georgia’s largest county?

  10. Clayton says:

    So, it would cost $21 per householdperson in Y1 and $11 every year thereafter to have a Milton county?

    Sign me up. In fact I will take a 10-pack.

  11. griftdrift says:

    Yeah, because we’re having such an easy time solving the transportation mess now, throwing a few more players in the game will make it all better.

    And not to mention the lack of reality on issues macho has already pointed out (MARTA, Grady). Those are financial nightmares no one wants to unravel.

    This is not forward thinking. This is cake and eat it too philosophy.

  12. B Balz says:

    Whatever your pro’s or con’s HB21 was voted on today and a due pass from Committee was recorded.

    Cousins was opposed to it, as was The House Minority Whip.

  13. NonPartisanGA says:

    B Balz there are a few a obstacles left:

    Passing the House
    Passing the Senate
    Signature by the Governor
    Statewide Vote for the constitutional amendment
    Obama US DOJ Pre-clearence
    and so on

  14. Game Fan says:

    Well, here’s my take on the situation: Back in High School, Milton High School was country central. I still remember the cheeleeders:

    “M-I- L-T-O-N

    Meeltin

    Meeltin

    Weeen Weeeen WEEENNNN! WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

  15. Progressive Dem says:

    Colorado and Florida have about 60 counties, New Mexico and Washington have about 40 counties.

      • Dave Bearse says:

        Georgia counties are on average less than 2/3rds the size of the average US county east of the Mississippi River.

        One in five Georgia counties have less than 10,000 residents. The inefficiency of a government serving a small geographic area and population an expense that metro Atlanta can no longer afford.

  16. ACConservative says:

    Its important to note that HR 21 authorizes the re-creation of former counties. Sandy Springs was never a part of Milton County and never has been. According to the wording of re-creation, I’m not totally positive Sandy Springs would be constitutionally eligible to join the new Milton County.

    Expect a big lawsuit from Fulton County if Milton County tries to take Sandy Springs with it.

    Andre makes a good point about the VRA. I don’t think its totally clear how Section 5 applies here, but the issue will no doubt be heavily scrutinized by DOJ officials.

    I understand the argument made by North Fulton residents. They feel that they’re subsidizing the services provided to residents in unincorporated South Fulton. I can’t help but think that their opinion would be different if South Fulton were made up of predominately white residents.

    There is a racial issue at play here. These areas owe much (if not most) of their existence to white flight. While it may not be the main issue behind this divorce, history would tend to indicate that its in the back of the minds of those in North Fulton.

    I don’t think secession is the right answer. I would much rather see both sides sit down and hammer out tangible reform to the Fulton County Commission.

    If we’re all going to play this secession game, where does it end? The Atlanta Metro provides a lot of the dollars that prop up rural Georgia… should they secede? California pays more in taxes than it gets back from the Federal government… should they pick their ball up and go home?

    • ACConservative says:

      By the way, a Georgia without Atlanta is little more than Mississippi Jr. or Diet Alabama.

    • foray says:

      This is a multi step process:

      – Must pass out of House/Senate (doesn’t need Gov. signature because it is a constitutional amendment)
      -Pass statewide ballot muster
      -Bill to order referendum must pass House/Senate and be signed by new governor
      -Referendum is held in North Fulton- excluding Sandy Springs
      -When Milton County is established- the City of Sandy Springs can opt to join Milton County

      This would all be unnecessary if there wasn’t a 159 cap on counties-

  17. B Balz says:

    @acc “…I don’t think secession is the right answer. I would much rather see both sides sit down and hammer out tangible reform to the Fulton County Commission….” What about reform in the City???

    Yeah, I thought the same thing about North DeKalb and Decatur. The end-game has always been Milton County.

    Go spend a lot of time trying to bring both sides together, as a private citizen. For your trouble, you will arouse the ire of neighbors, friends, and tried the patience of many. Often the right thing to do is either unwanted or impractical.

    The fact is that the City of Atlanta is Balkinized already. The City is comprised of two County governments, plus its’ own adminsitration. Ridiculous amounts of waste, probable fraud and clear abuse. While Mayor Franklin was a breathe of fresh air, we see a pension program that is utterly unsustainable.

    The answer is a weak Mayor City of Atlanta which is sovereign from Fulco/Dekalb.

    Good luck on that one. Trueth: Atlanta fails, Georgia suffers.

  18. jamesr572 says:

    Should South Fulton suffer again for a Milton County?
    Most people arguing for and against Milton County don’t know the full story beyond the Depression consolidation of Campbell County (South) and Milton County (North) into Fulton County. Several facts are being skated over by lies and deceit.

    The first lie and tale of deceit surrounds the notion that Sandy Springs was part of the Old Milton County. Sandy Springs once known as Hammonds has always been in Fulton County. The fact is the Chattahoochee River served as the old county line between what was once Milton and Fulton County. Representative Jan Jones and Representative Willard are trying to pull a fast one by sliding in language that slips Sandy Springs in their definition of reconstituted counties. Stop and think, better still look it up. Sandy Springs is south of the Hooch and has it’s origins in Fulton County.

    South Fulton has suffered enough for Sandy Springs to allow it to walk away easily. Read closely you are not going to read this information in ANY article written about reconstituting Milton County. Sandy Springs prosperity didn’t happen by itself. During the late 1960’s through early 1980’s Fulton County’s jewel was Fulton Industrial Boulevard (FI in South Fulton County. At one time, Fulton Industrial Boulevard was the largest industrial park east of the Mississippi River. With that came untold millions of dollars in property taxes and sales taxes. Where did Fulton County spend those dollars? Sandy Springs… The vast majority of it went into building Sandy Springs infrastructure and aid the white flight north that has made it one of the richest communities in the nation. South Fulton suffered through the 1970’s and 1980’s while it’s northern cousin received favored treatment and money from South Fulton in an effort to keep Atlanta and it’s annexation plans at bay.

    Very little of the FIB money was spent in South Fulton that is why it remain rather rural to this day. There lies the other lie from those who constantly repeat the mantra that North Fulton is paying for South Fulton.

    If it was my choice I’d say allow the state-wide vote for the Old Milton County WITHOUT Sandy Springs because it was never a part of the Old Milton County. Sandy Springs owes a large debt to South Fulton and the resources it imparted upon her.

    Tell Representative Jones and Willard to stop telling lies and pull the plug on HR21. The people of South Fulton and Atlanta should let their representative know the truth. South Fulton is responsible for Sandy Springs and subsequently the balance of North Fulton’s properity.

  19. B Balz says:

    @ jamessr572 Some really interesting points about Fulton Industrial property taxes paying for Sandy Springs infrastructure. Similar arguments were made in DeKalb about North DeKalb vis-a-vis Perimeter Mall and office developments. In my opinion, both arguments are specious. Here’s why:

    The property owners in developing North Atlanta would have suffered increasing taxes as the infrastructure building and development occurred while simultaneously and enjoying increased property values. Currently, and due to in part to a lack of good Comprehensive Plan , South Atlanta residents have lower values and pay less tax.

    In a relatively more progressive DeKalb, a forward looking Comp Plan allows for lots of new development in south DeKalb. Subsequently, those property owners will reap the benefits in their property values and suffer more taxes.

    As to Sandy Springs, that is pretty interesting information, but they are located in the middle of FULCO now. I fail to see why the historical perspective is relevant.

    • jamesr572 says:

      @B Balz the argument is no different than those of North Fulton resident claiming they carry South Fulton. The facts are clear money that should have been spent on both unincorporated North and South Fulton was used primarily in North Fulton. The property taxes paid by residents of both location was not effected. The untold millions taken from Fulton Industrial Boulevard to build out North Fulton specifically around Sandy Springs is the issue.

      South Fulton built Sandy Springs and subsequently Milton, Johns Creek and to an extent Roswell and Alpharetta. The facts can’t be denied unless “you want your cake and eat it too.”

  20. Andre says:

    The people of South Fulton and Atlanta should let their representative know the truth.

    You’re assuming that the people of south Fulton are politically motivated enough to do anything other than what their church pastors or elected officials tell them to do.

    If –as jamesr572 suggests– money was taken from south Fulton to subsidize north Fulton, then a fully engaged electorate would have protested these so-called inequities.

    The fact is that south Fulton contains some of the most politically apathetic people in our great state. They only get mad, organized and mobilized after the key events affecting them have taken place. By then, there is little the people of south Fulton can do except complain about how they believe the process has been unfair to them.

    That’s the truth about south Fulton.

    They keep electing folks like Sharon Beasley-Teague and Joe Heckstall and Donzella James; folks who have no political power or influence, and then expect the legislature to give them some respect.

    Now let me talk about HR 21 for a second here:

    House Resolution 21 allows the General Assembly to re-create a previously existing county which was merged into another county. HR 21 allows the legislature to set the boundaries of that previously existing county, and I believe that the legislators of the affected area(s) will listen closely to their constituents when drawing up the new maps.

    Sandy Springs has expressed a desire to leave Fulton County. Their mayor, Eva Galambos, said as much during her testimony before the House State Planning & Community Affairs Committee this past week.

    If Sandy Springs wants to join a re-constituted Milton County, and the qualified voters therein approve a referendum having that effect, then why should Sandy Springs not be allowed to go?

    Regardless of what Milton County may have looked like in the past, it is up to residents of the new Milton County to determine what their community will look like in the future. If that happens to include Sandy Springs, then so be it.

    • B Balz says:

      I so want to know if Andre’s logic would apply to other cities such as Dunwoody. Does it matter that a wee bit of Dunwoody used to be in Milton County?

    • South Fulton Guy says:

      “They keep electing folks like Sharon Beasley-Teague and Joe Heckstall and Donzella James; folks who have no political power or influence, and then expect the legislature to give them some respect.”

      As Paul Harvey says the rest of the story is that Andre conspicuously leaves out State Representatives Roger Bruce and Virgil Fluud who fall in the same category, because they toted the water for Andre supporting the failed attempt to form the City of South Fulton.

      Proponents have failed to present border that would pass constitutional of DOJ challenges. Now Mr. Walker pontificates about Sandy Springs voting to leave Fulton or Dunwoody leaving DeKalb without anything on the ballot. Is the referendum I missed?

      Lastly nowhere does anyone on any side have any up to date financial studies reflecting current state on the viability of either end of a split Fulton County or the Fulton County School System.

      • Andre says:

        South Fulton Guy,

        You’re almost as bad as “NonPartisanGA” in your obsession with me.

        I singled out Sharon Beasley-Teague, Joe Heckstall and Donzella James not for their support or opposition to Senate Bill 552, but because these three entrenched incumbents have been in the legislature forever. Beasley-Teague, Heckstall and James were in office when I was a kid spending my afternoons at the Sandy Springs’ KinderCare on Pitts Road, and they’re still in office now. Yet, south Fulton has little or nothing to show for their years of service to the community.

        As for any possible constitutional or Justice Department challenges, only an activist Justice Department would determine that the re-creation of Milton County denies or abridges the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group. If the DOJ starts legislating from the bureaucracy, then the only recourse would be for the State of Georgia to sue in federal court to overturn section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. And I don’t need to remind anyone that section 5 is already on shakey ground with the United States Supreme Court [Savage, David G (2009-4-30). Voting Rights Act section that singles out South may be abolished. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2010-3
        -13.].

    • jamesr572 says:

      @Andre you damn know well when money was being siphoned off for North Fulton (Sandy Springs) there was nothing more than large single family on multiple acre tracks. The area was mainly rural. We don’t know they didn’t protest it. You forget at one point there were five commissioners who ran the day-to-day operations of Fulton County and included one Mr. Tom Lowe.

      South Fulton built Sandy Springs and subsequently North Fulton.

  21. aaxan says:

    Why don’t they just join Forsyth County?

    -requires no change to GA’s constitution
    -no new government entity to deal with for regional planning purposes
    -small, homogeneous and affluent so N. Fulton residents don’t have to worry about their $$ going somewhere they don’t approve
    -Forsyth probably would welcome the idea

    • South Fulton Guy says:

      And they could stop Oprah at the new county line since North Fulton can’t throw bricks at Hosea Williams now.

    • jamesr572 says:

      Annex yourselves just don’t cross the river.
      You forget north of the river they are a little bit of a high brow crowd. So Forsyth may have too many “trailers” for their taste.

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