“They’ve made it very clear they want to be in the city of South Fulton,” he said. “They already have a relationship.”
The bills, HB 869 and HB 870, have passed the House and are being heard in the Senate. Bruce said he’s optimistic about their chances for success.
But Atlanta isn’t going to let South Fulton have the district — which brings in more than $18 million in property taxes to the county — without a fight.
Melissa Mullinax, a senior advisor to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, said in a statement that the city opposes Bruce’s effort.
“The interests of the entire community would be better served by collaborative discussion between the City of Atlanta, the City of South Fulton and the Fulton Industrial District stakeholders as to how municipal services could best be provided in that area,” she said, adding that the city’s preferred outcome is that the southern portion of the district go to South Fulton, while the northern portion go to Atlanta.
Bottoms, Mullinax said, is talking to South Fulton Mayor Bill Edwards about breaking up the area, “and looks forward to resolving this issue soon.”
Edwards said Monday that he was in meetings about Fulton Industrial with residents and a county commissioner, and was not available for comment.
The fight over the district is part of a long-term tug-of-war. Atlanta had earlier tried to annex land in the district, and took its case to the state supreme court, where it was dismissed because the city had not gotten far enough in the process. Last year, Atlanta tried again to annex land, drawing a suit from Fulton County. That case was heard in Fulton County Superior Court last month; no decision has been made yet.
If the Senate passes Bruce’s bills, it will again be up to Deal to sign or veto the legislation that could determine the area’s future.
“We’re giving him all the information we have available to us, with the hope that he will let it go through this time,” Bruce said.