This one perplexes me, but folks on both sides of this issue are telling me that there will likely be a vote on a resolution which will authorize a referendum amending GA’s Constitution to re-create Milton County tomorrow. While most have been told there will not be a vote unless there are enough votes to pass, those in favor either think they have or can get the needed votes.
I don’t see it. The issue pits two members of house leadership against each other. Jan Jones, newly promoted to Speaker Pro-Tem, is heavily in favor and pushing hard for passage. But newly elected Majority Whip Ed Lindsey is relatively quietly, though staunchly, against. One would have to assume that in-town Republican Mike Jacobs may not want to see a weaker Fulton County, as a partner in MARTA and Grady Hospital on which his county depends. Jill Chambers also has a record of bucking the majority on creating new government entities.
Given that this is a constitutional amendment, a 2/3 majority is required to pass. Thus, it’s further hard to see what will be offered to a sufficient number of Democrats to make them turn their backs on Atlanta and Fulton County. The numbers become more difficult when you factor in a few rural uber-conservatives who can’t seem to justify creating an additional county government which the state must then provide services too. As reported here earlier, regional heavyweight Sam Massell claims an added expense to the state of $6 Million the first year, and $3 Million per year thereafter.
Further complicating the issue is that the resolution doesn’t specify the boundaries of the newly created Milton County. Some believe Sandy Springs will be included, though most of it was never in the old Milton. Others go so far as to claim that Dunwoody and parts of East Cobb will be included.
Supporters of this plan suggest that those left behind in Fulton should recoup their financial position by consolidating with the City Of Atlanta. This seems to be chapping the opponents most of all. They seem to think it’s bad enough that Milton wants to break off from the county that once bailed them out, but suggests the remedy to make this financially palatable is to give up their county, too.
I can’t imagine the Senate spending time on this this year, so it really boils down to whether Jones needs to fire up her base enough to justify the House’s time and her political capital on an issue that is likely dead for this year. Assuming there is still a Republican Governor and Republican House and Senate next year, I could see it passing then. Then again, that may be why there is the sudden urge to try and push this through now, even though the details have yet to be worked out.