Buckhead cityhood effort returns for another fight
Buckhead cityhood booster Bill White and Republican state lawmakers have launched another effort to create Buckhead City, cleaving Atlanta into two cities with vastly different wealth, demographics and politics.
Why it matters: An emboldened Buckhead cityhood effort — one that actually has legs — would become déjà vu for Mayor Andre Dickens, whose first months in office were dominated by the issue.
Driving the news: Thursday, a state Senate committee vetted one of two Buckhead cityhood bills. Like the previous year’s legislation, no Atlanta-area lawmakers are sponsors.
What they’re saying: Sen. Randy Robertson, R-Cataula, says he’s carrying the legislation because residents have a right to decide whether they should incorporate.
The other side: Opponents from City Hall, the Atlanta City Council, Atlanta Public Schools, Buckhead and elsewhere detailed how Buckhead City would hamstring the city’s potential to educate students, deliver services and compete against other cities.
- “The separation would also be much harder on Buckhead than presented,” said Kenyatta Mitchell, Atlanta’s director of intergovernmental affairs. Start-up costs would be substantial and the cost of operations would potentially be on par with Atlanta’s, she said.
Catch up quick: The Buckxit quest hit a wall this past February after then-House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said he opposed legislation that would put the cityhood proposal to a referendum.
- Buckhead cityhood booster Bill White promised to fight another day.
Intrigue: One of Buckhead City’s champions in 2022 — Burt Jones, a Butts County Republican — is now the lieutenant governor. He says cityhood isn’t a legislative priority.
What’s next: Though no vote was taken on Thursday, Sen. Frank Ginn, R-Danielsville, the committee’s chairman, said the hearing was the start of the discussion. Stay tuned.