“I’m just not getting the engagement or the representation that I’m looking for,” said Cindy Cooperman, an organizer for the campaign supporting East Cobb cityhood.
At 25 square miles, East Cobb would be the county’s largest by land area, and third most populous behind Marietta and Smyrna. The community is whiter and wealthier than the county as a whole, which in 2020 flipped to Democratic control for the first time in recent memory.
Several Democrats opposed the measure, questioning whether the city would provide fair representation to those who live there. The city council’s six members would all be elected citywide, although three would have to live in different residential zones.
Rep. Teri Anulewicz, a Democrat from nearby Smyrna, said that as a result, a majority of the council could come from a single neighborhood.
“That, my friends, is not a city,” Anulewicz said. “That is an HOA,” meaning a homeowners association.
Meanwhile, Cobb County officials questioned the quality of the services the new city would receive — and how much Cobb County would be required to help out, even as East Cobb contributed less in taxes. Public Safety Director Randy Crider said East Cobb has just two fire stations within its proposed city limits, which could leave it unable to respond to major fires across its large area. Smyrna and Marietta have five and six fire stations, respectively.
Rep. Ed Setzler, an Acworth Republican who co-sponsored the bill, countered that the lack of fire stations in East Cobb suggests the area hasn’t received its fair share of county services. “I believe local representation is very important to give credible representation,” Setzler said.