Annexation efforts could be nullified

Mon, 02/19/2007 - 9:56am
By: Ben Nelms

Last year ended with the issues of annexation of unincorporated land in south Fulton decided. But then again, maybe not. Bills introduced last week in the Georgia House by 66th District Rep. Virgil Fludd, 64th District Rep. Roger Bruce and Rep. 65th District Sharon Beasely-Teague are potentially calling some of those annexations into question.

One of the bills, House Bill 306 calls for annexations by south Fulton cities that took effect on or after Nov. 1, 2006 to be nullified. Senate Bill 552, passed nearly unanimously in 2006 by the House and Senate, gave unincorporated residents the right to vote in June 2007 to form the city of South Fulton and the city of Chattahoochee Hills. Though the majority of city actions during the summer of annexation were in process long before the Oct. 30 date referenced in SB 552, an exact accounting of the time frame of the annexations of more than 13,000 acres by Palmetto, Fairburn and Union City remains to be tallied. And it would those annexations crossing the Nov. 1 threshold, if any, that would be undone if HB 306 passes. The bill would also nullify annexation attempts that are currently being considered, Fludd said Wednesday.

The main concern is that the intent of lawmakers working on the SB 552 was not fully honored by all south Fulton cities, Fludd said.

β€œ(The Oct. 30 date) was the legislative intent from the beginning,” Fludd said. β€œAnd it was agreed to by the city managers and the legislators who worked on the bill. This was clearly negotiated.”

A sticking point to the annexations might also be the complete annexation process and the date that annexations were approved, not only by individual cities, but also by Fulton County, the state of Georgia and U.S. Dept. of Justice. Fludd said the Nov. 1 date in HB 306 refers to the final approval from the Dept. of Justice.

A second bill relating to annexations, HB 305, requires that no city will be allowed to acquire more than an aggregate 20 percent of the real property of another municipality, unless both parties agree to the annexations.

A third bill, HB 328, concerns Freeport exemptions being placed on the June 19 ballot when voters decide on forming the new cities. The absence of any Freeport provisions was touted last year by Union City officials and others as a reason why large businesses with inventory susceptible to taxation without the exemption should opt to annex into an existing city, rather than losing out on the exemption in the new City of South Fulton.

HB 328 was sponsored by Bruce, Fludd, 49th district Rep. Wendell Willard, 46th District Rep. Jan Jones, 90th District Rep. Howard Mosby and 63rd District Rep. Tyrone Brooks.

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