Senate cityhood and annexation committee will hold first meeting
This story has been updated.
State Sen. Elena Parent says the first meeting of a senate committee studying the state’s processes for annexations and creating new cities will take place on Monday, Aug. 24 at the state Capitol.
The meeting of the Annexation, Deannexation, and Incorporation Senate Study Committee will begin at 10 a.m. in Room 125. Parent is chairwoman of the committee.
“At this first meeting, we will hear an overview of the current law from Legislative Counsel, and hear perspectives from the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) and the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) regarding their views of how well the process currently works,” Parent said in an email to constituents.
Parent says the committee will tackle the following topics …
1. Should the financial impact on the county be considered when approving a referendum for a new incorporation?
2. Should we move to a statutory process in approving new incorporations, instead of the more Committee-rule based process we have now?
3. Should the wishes of existing cities be considered in new incorporations, annexations or deannexations, and if so, how?
4. Would petitions for new incorporations, similar to annexations via the 60 percent or 100 percent method, be wise?
5. How much of the processes should be controlled by the General Assembly? In some parts of the country, the Legislature delegates power to local boards who consider such matters. Would this make sense for Georgia?
There is also a House committee on the annexation and cityhood process, which includes state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur. Oliver said that committee will meet Sept. 1, Sept. 24 and Oct. 6.
Bills allowing for a vote to incorporate the proposed new cities of Tucker and LaVista Hills this November prevailed in the 2015 session, while annexation plans for Decatur, Atlanta and Avondale Estates fell by the wayside.
While that process sounds straightforward, the path to getting these referendums on the ballot was anything but. Legislators debated which proposals should take priority when they considered the overlapping boundaries of annexation and cityhood proposals.
There are several methods under state law for annexing unincorporated territory into a new city. The Legislature also bent the rules to allow Tucker and LaVista Hills to move forward in this year’s session, instead of making the cities wait two years. LaVista Hills combined the previous cityhood movements of Briarcliff and Lakeside, thus creating a new map that didn’t have to wait two years before being considered. Cityhood supporters argued that their proposals had already been considered in one form or another in the 2014 session, and the rule should be waived. The Legislature agreed, though not without some worry about establishing a bad precedent for creating new cities.
Here is the agenda for the Senate Committee meeting: