Lawmakers try to solidify Georgia’s city creation process

Georgia lawmakers will again consider proposals for new cities when they begin their 2016 legislative session on Jan. 11. BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM
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Georgia lawmakers will again consider proposals for new cities when they begin their 2016 legislative session on Jan. 11. BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

Much of Georgia’s cityhood creation method would remain the same under recommendations from a state House of Representatives study committee.

The committee's suggestions include greater transparency about pending incorporations, a two-year cityhood review process in the Georgia Legislature and a requirement for proposed cities to define their boundaries during the first year of the process.

In addition, House leaders could require an assessment of how incorporations and annexations affect school systems, counties and other municipalities.

A Senate task force that also reviewed how the state approves cities issued its own conclusions.

Senators recommended passing a law to formalize the rules for communities seeking to become cities. Those rules could include a two-year review process in the Legislature and an evaluation of their financial impacts on surrounding school systems and local governments.

At least five areas are asking lawmakers to approve cityhood for their communities: Greenhaven, Sharon Springs, South Fulton, St. Simons Island and Stonecrest.

The state House and Senate ordered studies of how they consider incorporations after this year's heated debate over the proposed cities of Tucker and LaVista Hills. Both passed the Legislature, but only Tucker was approved by voters in a referendum last month.

Tucker will hold its first elections March 1 and incorporate afterward.