Fulton Tax Increase Revives Efforts to Bring Back Milton County

August 14, 2014 8:30 am

by Jon Richards · 12 comments

The idea has been around for a while. To get out from what they perceive as an unresponsive Fulton County government, some north Fulton residents want to reconstitute Milton County, which was combined with Fulton County during the Depression in order to avoid bankruptcy.

According to a story in the Neighbor Newspapers, last week’s vote to raise Fulton’s property taxes could reignite that effort.

“The Fulton County Commission’s decision to jack the property tax rate by 17 percent certainly fuels the independence fire in north Fulton,” [House Speaker Pro Tempore — District 47 State Rep. Jan Jones] said. “My constituents are frustrated with a dysfunctional government lacking credibility and failing to offer basic services at a reasonable cost.”

Jones authored last year’s House Bill 604, a piece of legislation prohibiting Fulton from raising property taxes before 2015. Just hours after the millage rate increase, she was joined by six GOP lawmakers in filing suit against the county.

“We are committed to upholding state law and the Georgia Constitution and protecting Fulton County taxpayers,” Jones said in a statement. “I just wish a majority of our Fulton County Commissioners felt the same.”

In order to recreate Milton County, two rounds of enabling legislation would have to be passed by a two thirds majority in both the Georgia House and Senate. The first, which would allow for additional counties, would have to be approved by voters statewide. Then voters within the proposed boundaries would have to approve the county’s creation.

While some feel all that heavy lifting would be worth the effort, others would prefer to see the northern and southern ends of the current Fulton County work more closely together. That’s easy to say, but with the Fulton Commission defying state law in order to pass this year’s property tax increase, North Fulton residents have a reason to reconsider the idea of secession.

CJBear71 August 14, 2014 at 9:00 am

I notice Jan Jones didn’t talk about cutting up Gwinnett when they raised taxes about 8% last month. She didn’t propose splitting Cobb & East Cobb when they raised taxes about 15% about 3 years ago. Nor did she try to propose legislation restricting their ability to raise taxes.

Lea Thrace August 14, 2014 at 9:19 am

+1

Boom goes the dynamite!

rmarsden89 August 14, 2014 at 9:28 am

Could that have anything to do with her not representing those districts? Local and county legislation is the responsibility of the members that represent the area.

Harry August 14, 2014 at 9:56 am

Trust me, the Gwinnett increase will have consequences. Everybody now knows what I knew already…C. Nash and the current crop of bureaucrat commissioners can’t be trusted. So what’s new?

saltycracker August 14, 2014 at 9:01 am

I moved out of Fulton just into Cherokee before the formations of several cities. I’m not sure if the cities lowered anyones taxes or improved their lifestyle or even lowered their frustration with local government. They do need to raise a lot of money for city facilities. A new county also means they’ll need to take over the costly schools and that doesn’t seem to be a major issue with Fulton ?

I like the idea of a Milton County but just what can we expect, a big tax rollback as we add dept administrators, another new courthouse or use Alpharetta’ s big new city hall or Roswells or ?

Raleigh August 14, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Salty, I’m sure the new cities didn’t lower taxes in Fulton. Adding another layer of government never lowers taxes. It raised taxes for those in North Fulton. Taking schools out of the equation, those living in the new cities felt Fulton County was shortchanging them on services. They were probably right. Having watched what happened in North Fulton in respect to new cities. I see some of the same complaints starting in Cherokee. I’ll bet soon you may see some efforts to create a new citie or two there as well. I don’t know how much having a new “North Fulton” county would change very much except representation closer to home. There are 5 cities which encompass all the land area anyway.

saltycracker August 14, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Considering the new cities in Fulton, which should/could provide most services, which County ones do they feel short changed on ?

For us in Cherokee, city expansion is primarily jurisdiction shopping for zoning. No county neighborhoods are looking to jump into a city that I know of, but with some of the new commissioners, that could change.

Cities do like their own police to raise revenue. Fire is fun to watch as the county wants to build an empire and the cities can’t afford their own without a tax hit. Then we have water & reservoirs……

saltycracker August 14, 2014 at 12:46 pm

BTW – with the tax revenue increase due to assessment leaps I think the county and cities need to take the bull by the horns on some road issues – if DOT isn’t going to move (like on 140) we should….4 lane Arnold mill from 575 to Fulton Co. now or put a moratorium on zoning and residential permits in that area.

Raleigh August 14, 2014 at 1:02 pm

If the counties (Cherokee specifically) do what they normally do they have been failing to rollback the millage rate to revenue neutral almost every year. Many claim they are using the backdoor tax increase method. The problem with 140 is if you widen it in Cherokee what happens just across the line in Fulton which could become “Milton County” would they follow through or will 140 be back to 2 lanes across the county line. Anyway I’m drifting off the post topic this likely belongs on another thread…..

BlueRidgeRick August 14, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Raleigh, Actually here in Sandy Springs our overall taxes DID go down, not a lot but down. At the same time we got lots of miles of sidewalks, a police department that is way more responsive than the previous Fulton Police and way friendlier. The city is more attractive than before because Sandy Springs quickly picks up trash & yard signs off the street. Everyone I know in Sandy Springs is glad we have less of Fulton County in our lives.

View from Brookhaven August 14, 2014 at 9:55 am

Whether Fulton defied that bill or not, there was zero chance Jones wouldn’t again have filed a Milton bill in 2015.

S. Lee Guy August 14, 2014 at 3:24 pm

I think everyone’s missed the mark on the analysis of this tax increase. This is more about challenging the changes the General Assembly made to Fulton County. They want the tax increase to go to court so the changes might get thrown out. The chances of them passing a tax increase decrease once the additional commissioners take office. Best time for a challenge is now.

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