Senate cityhood and annexation committee will hold first meeting

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt August 20, 2015
DeKalb County Georgia. Source: Google Maps.

DeKalb County Georgia. Source: Google Maps.

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:


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  • RAJ

    Won’t affect anything that happens in the 2016 legislative session, but this discussion is long over due. Proposed annexation maps for Central DeKalb have already been produced by the DeKalb GIS department and will be available at the meeting. E-mail me at if you need preview copies.

    • RAJ

      Oops….some administrative changes could be in effect during the 2016 legislative session, but no legislation would be effective. Usual suspect at the meeting…had to move to a larger room in the Capitol….lots of crowd filler types. Mapping issue got no traction, mostly just a review of where we are at this point in time.

  • Tom B. Doolittle

    Most generally, this is a question of whether the formation of new cities is a REGULATORY matter.
    There is presently no emphasis on regulation, only facilitation. (the question above about having a “board”–really a commission or authority partially addresses this premise)

    Also–this is a question bearing on comprehensive planning act requirements for counties at their core–mapping. The laws associated with those and municipal formations have to be reconciled DELIBERATELY as surely they must already be with annexation law.

    It may well be that Comprehensive Planning is where annexation law and municipal planning law can also be reconciled.

  • Cities Are Bad

    The studies for the cities should also show exactly how much money the couny loses and how many people lose their jobs with the county. The economy works best when more people are working and the county is a good employer. Keep DeKalb strong and vote against the bad cities.

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