A bill to allow a referendum that would create the city of South Fulton passed the Georgia Senate late Tuesday.
HB 514 will now go back to the House for another review before becoming final.
The 42-10 vote came just before 10 p.m. Sen. Donzella James, D-Atlanta, told legislators the last unincorporated area in Fulton County had essentially been acting like a city for a decade and residents deserved to vote on whether they wanted to become one.
Neighboring cities are interested in annexing portions of the unincorporated area, and a plan that would divide the entire unincorporated area between neighboring cities has been proposed. Proponents of the bill, including the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, want to allow South Fulton residents the option to form their own city.
A vote in 2007 failed, but Fulton County Chairman John Eaves said he had been getting excited emails from residents who would like to take another shot at cityhood. Eaves said he has always felt that residents of the unincorporated area should get a chance to vote on their fate.
“It looked pretty bleak a few days ago, but it was resurrected,” he said. “It’s good news, it’s really good news.”
The bill had bipartisan support, but Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, who has stalled the bill in the past, spoke — and voted — in opposition to it.
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