Municipal Secession in Georgia

Municipal Secession in Georgia

Discussion Board (Module 6):  Municipal Secession in Georgia

On this discussion board, please discuss the role of state government in attempts by local citizen groups to create new local governments (primarily city governments) by  “seceding” from a county or existing city.  The most significant recent example of “municipal secession” in Georgia was the attempted secession of a portion of the City of Stockbridge, Georgia, in November 2018 to form a new city to be named Eagles Landing.  The state government authorized the referendum, but only allowed residents of the portion of Stockbridge seeking to secede to vote on the issue, rather than allowing the whole city of Stockbridge to decide the issue.  The election proposal to create the new city of Eagles Landing from the existing city of Stockbridge was rejected by voters.  In addition, in early 2021, a movement started to create a city of “Buckhead” by having the existing Buckhead area of the City of Atlanta secede from the rest of the city.  The Georgia General Assembly will need to pass a law in 2022 allowing a referendum of Buckhead residents for this idea to move forward.

Stockbridge:

Eagle’s Landing secession attempt from Stockbridge defeated by voters

Why the Vote to Secede From a Black City Failed in Georgia

Buckhead:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/07/us/atlanta-buckhead-city-movement/index.html

In addition, many new cities have been created in Georgia since 2005 beginning with Sandy Springs in northern Fulton County.  Examples of other new cities in Georgia include Dunwoody (DeKalb County), Johns Creek (Fulton County), Tucker (DeKalb County), and Brookhaven (DeKalb County).  These new cities were created from unincorporated territory governed by county governments.  The creation of these new cities is essentially a secession of an area from the jurisdiction of a county government.  There are also proposals to create four new cities in Cobb County (East Cobb, Lost Mountain, Mableton, and Vinings).  The state legislature in 2022 will need to pass a law authorizing a vote (referendum) of residents of these areas in order to create each new city formally.  The Georgia General Assembly must pass a law authorizing the creation of a new city from unincorporated portions of a county.  The law always requires a majority vote “Yes” vote in the area wanting to become a city, but not a vote of the entire county electorate.

In comparison to Georgia, in California in 2002, a portion of the City of Los Angeles known as the San Fernando Valley sought to breakaway to create a new city.  The California state legislature authorized a secession vote, but mandated that the secession proposal pass by a majority vote in BOTH the San Fernando Valley and the City of Los Angeles as a whole.  The proposal to create a new city passed in the San Fernando Valley narrowly, but failed by a wide margin in the entire City of Los Angeles.  Since a majority of voters in the whole City of Los Angeles rejected the proposal, the secession effort by citizens in the San Fernando Valley failed.  

-What is the ideal role for state government when it comes to addressing the desires of local citizens to create a new city from an existing city or from unincorporated sections of a county? 

-Keep in mind the concept of “Dillon’s Rule”

-Are the race and wealth/income statistics of a seceding area factors that you think state government should consider when authorizing the creation of new cities?  Would secession of a wealthy area unfairly leave a poorer city behind?  Or, should local citizens be able to create new cities without regard to the needs of the other parts of the city or county that are not part of the new city? 

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