North Fulton cities reverse course, approve county managing local elections in November



North Fulton cities eager to manage their own elections in November say they don’t have enough time to do so efficiently and will wait until 2025.

Only one of five cities — Milton — plans to conduct its own election this year.

Milton had been leading a move since January for joint elections in which north Fulton cities would pool resources to hire a superintendent to set up and manage the process. Those conversations eventually stalled and other cities planning to run their municipal elections this year reversed course.

In mid March, Johns Creek decided Fulton would manage its November municipal election.

And during City Council meetings on Monday, Roswell, Alpharetta and Mountain Park approved executing intergovernmental agreements for Fulton County Department of Registrations and Elections to conduct their respective city’s municipal election this fall.

For Roswell and Alpharetta, the decisions remain preliminary even though most of those cities’ officials have held the position for a while that waiting until 2025 would give the municipalities the necessary time set up an elections process.

A deadline of March 31 to execute the intergovernmental agreements with Fulton has been extended to mid-April, officials from the cities said.

Roswell City Council approved its elections agreement with Fulton in a first reading on Monday.

Similarly, Alpharetta City Council approved a resolution authorizing Fulton County to conduct the city’s November election. The officials plan to vote on the ordinance during its April 17 meeting.

Alpharetta Mayor Jim Gilvin has been opposed to Fulton managing the city’s election this year and going forward, but voted with his colleagues in unanimous approval of the resolution.

Still, Gilvin maintained his distrust of Fulton County.

“Even if we sign the IGA both parties have the option to cancel it within 30 days without any reason given,” he said. “… We would be able to withdraw if we were willing to run our own elections at that point.”

A Fulton invoice to Alpharetta dated March 24 shows the city would be required to pay $374,408 for the cost of the county conducting the city’s election. The city did not say what the cost of a possible runoff would be.

Gilvin said costs could rise after the election is over based on updated numbers for registered voters or population.

Roswell will be charged a minimum of $554,028, according to its Fulton invoice. An additional $260,392 would be charged for a runoff, Roswell reports.

The city has previously stated that it paid Fulton $373,000 to administer its local election in 2021.

Councilwoman Lee Hills said Roswell has no other option but to have Fulton manage its November 2023 election.

“To say that this option is a disappointment to me is an understatement,” Councilwoman Lee Hills said. “I did support going forward with Fulton County because I don’t believe that we have the infrastructure set up to be able to run this in the best way for our residents this fall … this is not my first or even my top 10 choices.”

Roswell City Council, concerned by Fulton’s plans to close an early voting location in East Roswell, approved an accompanying resolution Monday that requests the county continue to allow early voting at Roswell Library and East Roswell Library. The libraries are located on opposite sides of town and provide voting access for nearby residents.

“I do have a concern about disenfranchisement of our voters on the east side of our city come this fall,” Mayor Kurt Wilson said.

The Roswell mayor urged residents to contact Fulton County Commissioners to express worries over the possible closing of the early voting location, starting with Chairman Robb Pitts.