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North Fulton Plans To Form Their Own County Too

Passing legislation for a referendum to create the North Fulton cities of Milton and John's Creek is just phase one of the North Fulton movement to split Fulton County into two counties.  North Fulton wants to be their own county - not just incorporate their cities. This is not hearsay or rhetoric see and hear Representative Mark Burkhalter's say so himself: MPG Video (large file 1 MB)

As they veil them selves in the flag of self determination, what they really want to do is get out of financial support MARTA and Grady. Putting all financial responsibility for Grady and MARTA south of the river would almost certainly bankrupt what is now South Fulton and Atlanta. It remains to be seen if the legislature and the Governor would let them stick South County with the burden for these regional services.  Experts thought the legislature would never suspend the 3-mile rule that allowed Sandy Springs to incorporate.

Forming their own county would also allow North Fulton to form their own school system.  Do you see the picture now? After all of the new schools have been built in North Fulton and South Fulton only has Sandtown MS completed from SPLOST II - Fulton Schools are out of money for capital construction until the next SPLOST III vote this fall.

As a matter of fact the Fulton School System is making massive cuts to school services including life safety items like school police, social workers and psychologists in addition to music programs in an effort to balance in excess of an $80 million shortfall in the budget

As Representative Mark Burkhalter elaborates on their strategy to secede from Fulton County in this video in which he talks about creating North Fulton cities now and splitting off North Fulton into their own county later.  

State House Representative Jan Jones also elaborates "independence from Fulton County in three years" in this article from  

Cities short-sighted in land-grab approach to annexation

by Jan Jones

October 06, 2005
North Fulton's future lies in the balance, and elected officials' actions will soon determine the tilt. Hanging precariously are dramatically lower county taxes, needed infrastructure improvements and better decision-making closer to the people.

A new Milton County can be seen over the horizon in 2008 if north Fulton residents remain collectively committed to that vision. It will not happen, though, if Alpharetta and Roswell city councils remain committed to short-sighted annexation plans set to harm their own and unincorporated residents.

Both cities' elected officials have reacted with knee-jerk land grabs while 70,000 northeast and 20,000 northwest Fulton unincorporated residents consider more effective, lower cost local government by forming new cities next year.

Alpharetta has maneuvered towards annexing around a park and high-property tax generating neighborhoods while aggressively courting revenue-producing commercial properties.

Roswell put on the full-court press to annex two parks, a fire station and high-end neighborhoods.

Each seeks to supplement city revenues to balance its budget through cherry-picking annexations, rather than looking self-critically at reducing costs and high property tax rates or creating business-friendly policies. Each may blithely leave the unincorporated areas barren of assets that unincorporated residents paid for.

If allowed to be picked clean, the unincorporated remainders may have no choice but to throw in the cityhood towel. Without comprehensive cityhood, though, the odds of north Fulton negotiating a separate Milton County are slim.

To achieve full independence from Fulton County in three years, we have two alternatives. We must either convince a two-thirds majority of the state House and Senate to amend the state's constitution allowing an additional county, and then win a statewide referendum. Or we must strike a deal with two small, low-wealth counties to merge, thus freeing up a spot to stay within the constitutionally restricted maximum number of 159 counties.

In either case, we need an electorate composed entirely of city residents with representation separate from Fulton County working on its citizens' behalf. Without it, creating a new county from scratch also means recreating corrosive, expensive dynamics in which some residents...


Fulton sprouting cities north, south
Proposed cities would redraw map

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 04/03/06

Fulton County leaders are looking at a new future this week, one that could fundamentally reshape county politics and government.

Georgia lawmakers, at the very end of the legislative session, voted to let south Fulton residents decide whether they want two new cities there. The Legislature previously had approved the same choice for residents in unincorporated north Fulton.



Phil Skinner/AJC


A commercial nursery in north Fulton County sits next door to a housing subdivision off Union Hill Road that would be in the proposed city of Milton. Area voters will decide this summer whether to proceed with incorporation, and a referendum also will be held on the proposed city of Johns Creek.

It's all part of the chain reaction set off last year when Sandy Springs advocates won the right to form a city and take over jobs they said county officials had bungled. South Fulton advocates say they now feel the same thing.

"We're being hung out to dry," said Chuck Miller, a member of the steering group backing incorporation efforts there.

Residents of two proposed north Fulton cities, Milton and Johns Creek, will vote on cityhood in July and would hold their first elections in November.

Referendums on the two cities proposed in the south, named Chattahoochee Hill Country and South Fulton, would be on the ballot in summer 2007.

Assuming all four communities approve incorporation, Fulton could be out of the business of doing road work, running parks and providing communities with police and fire service as early as 2009.

It would remove virtually all of the remaining unincorporated areas, with any remaining land expected to be annexed by one of the cities.

"I, for one, am looking forward to doing county kinds of stuff," said County Manager Tom Andrews, referring to responsibilities such as courts, jails and public health.

The likely transition during the next few years doesn't look to be as wrenching as Sandy Springs' experience last year.

For one, money isn't as big a concern.

The creation of Sandy Springs severely depleted the fund used to pay for city-style services elsewhere in the county. But if the entire county is incorporated, that would no longer be an issue. Property tax growth should quickly erase remaining shortfalls, Andrews said.

The county does expect job cuts, however as many as 1,000. Many employees will find other work with the county, but managers will have to find ways to hold onto them in the meantime, Andrews said.

Other changes could be coming, too.

A committee that studied Fulton's future had recommended eliminating arts funding, making senior services programs partly user-supported and exploring changes to public health funding, according to Robert Eger, a Georgia State University public policy professor who was chairman of the committee.

But the biggest change may not be structural.

For years, Fulton has been beset by divisions caused in part by financing differences. With neighborhood-level decisions out of the county's hands, regional issues should dominate discussions, said Commissioner Lynne Riley, who represents north Fulton.

"So much of my responsibility has been to serve the folks in the unincorporated areas that have had no other elected voice," she said.

"With the local city councils in the picture, the commissioner's role will be strictly to look regionally and make sure those countywide services are delivered well."

Even that could change next year, when Rep. Mark Burkhalter (R-Alpharetta) may seek to split Fulton into two counties, one north of the Chattahoochee River and one south of it.

Lawmakers would have to tackle the more difficult process of amending the Georgia Constitution to do it.

But Burkhalter said county officials shouldn't take the possibility lightly.

"This county can no longer continue to function like it did in the past, or it will go out of business," he said.