Senators seek more thorough review of proposed Georgia cities

Future proposed cities in Georgia may be more rigorously vetted before they can incorporate.

A Senate task force recommended Tuesday that potential cities should go through a two-year review process before they can be approved by the Georgia Legislature.

The senators also suggested requiring an evaluation of the financial impact of new cities on their surrounding school systems and local governments.

“It’s more transparency and it sets expectations,” said Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, the chairwoman of the task force. “Citizens will be able to count on a higher level of knowledge about what it means for existing cities and counties.”

These proposals will be included in a bill during next year’s legislative session, Parent said.

Several areas are considering cityhood, including Stonecrest, South Fulton, Greenhaven in South DeKalb, Sharon Springs in Forsyth County and St. Simons Island. Any changes to the cityhood process would apply to communities seeking incorporation after next year.

The task force rejected other proposals, such as requiring a petition before cityhood proposals could be considered.

Lawmakers began the review of Georgia's cityhood laws after this year's contentious fight over forming the cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker, which were being decided by voters Tuesday.

The Georgia Legislature allowed LaVista Hills and Tucker to go forward after last-minute negotiations to set their borders in April.