Diverse Group of Local Residents Leading the Way
The Cityhood bug hit Fulton County pretty hard ten years ago. First, Sandy Springs then Milton, Johns Creek and Chattahoochee Hills. South Fulton first attempt failed. This time The People’s Campaign is making sure that doesn’t happen.
In the Committee Chair and Co-Chair meetings you will find folks from all over Unincorporated South Fulton. Blacks, whites, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, seniors, millennials, not-so-seniors, men, women, gay and straight. The Campaign has reached out to everyone who is willing to give some time as a volunteer. It’s been reported that there are more than 500 volunteers on the rolls who are being asked to work in their own communities and subdivisions.
The Campaign is taking this effort very seriously as it is hosting a series of 20 Town Hall Meetings at the various Elementary, Middle and High Schools across South Fulton up until Election Day. The Town Halls are taking on Cityhood, the Opportunity School Districts proposal, Annexations, and T-SPLOST. Published it’s own “The Messenger” newspaper, hosted a Visioning Session at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park. The session was design for local residents to talk about what the residents would like to see in the new proposed city. Thus far, their efforts are garnering good local media attention from Neighbor Newspapers, WSB-TV, WXIA and CBS Atlanta.
Citizens are picking up the new signs to place at their homes and the signs are being placed throughout the Unincorporated area along the right-of-ways. The white signs feature the logo of the Campaign.
It’s evident by the reactions of residents leaving the Visioning Session and Town Halls. Once they are given the facts about their choices they are choosing to support the proposed city. During the various sessions a number of residents came away with a clear understanding of what they paying for and what they could have once the city is chartered. Residents were encouraged to talk with their neighbors and verify the information by reviewing the 2016 Fulton County Budget Book (page 69 of the PDF).
Fulton County discussed the cost for additional Police, Fire & Rescue and Park & Recreation during the 2016 Budget Session. Click here for the link to the video from December 7, 2015 Special Called Board of Commissioners Meeting.
With The People’s Campaign underway, there are opponents of the city hood referendum. The lead opponent is the City of Atlanta, State Rep. Vincent Fort and their companion group South Fulton Citizens for Truth lead by the Sandtown Community Association president Deborah Davis. The Sandtown group failed in their efforts to be annexed by Atlanta once residents understood they would lose schools and pay more for services such as Sanitation, therefore they are pulling out all the stops.
Atlanta wants nothing more than to annex nearly all of Unincorporated South Fulton as described in HB 587 proposed by State Rep. Pat Gardner and Tyrone Brooks. The bill was tabled during the 2016 Legislative Session. By annexing large parts of South Fulton, Atlanta can almost guarantee black elected officials will remain in charge. Click here for Atlanta Magazine piece on this issue.
The opponents approach is to tell residents that can vote “no” if they want to remain unincorporated. That is true but, what they are not saying is if the city hood referendum fails HB 587 will be taken off the table and large portions of South Fulton will be annexed by Atlanta and Atlanta Public Schools.
The options as described during the Visioning Sessions and Town Halls are clear. Residents of South Fulton are already paying for their services and have done so for the last ten years. Simply put South Fulton residents already own it, now it’s time to take possession. Becoming a chartered City of South Fulton is by far the best option for the residents of South Fulton.
Let’s be clear I am NOT unbiased in my assessment. I am all for a City of South Fulton and have been an advocate for some time. I encourage you to follow up on the sourced links to verify what I’m saying. Read for yourself, if you don’t understand the numbers call Fulton County Finance Department or attend one of the remaining Town Hall Meetings to get your questions answered.