Buckhead Cityhood Stalls in Georgia General Assembly
ATLANTA — Legislation to de-annex the Buckhead neighborhood from the city of Atlanta has stalled in the Georgia General Assembly after Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and House Speaker David Ralston effectively killed the measure.
Although Georgia’s legislative session won’t end until April 4, the state’s most powerful state legislators signaled their opposition to the cityhood movement last week, leading senior officials from the Buckhead City Committee to announce plans for a new strategy on Wednesday. During a press conference in front of the committee’s Peachtree Road headquarters, Bill White, its chairman and CEO, vowed to press on with a renewed push for cityhood next year.
“We will never give up,” White said at the press conference. “We will never give in to the city of Atlanta and [its] coordinated effort to deny us our right to vote on cityhood.”
In their strategic announcement, Buckhead City Committee officials noted that the Georgia Senate’s opposition to tabling the bill left the door open for it to be revived before the general assembly’s March 15 deadline. Further, they pointed out that it is not uncommon for incorporation bills to take longer than one year to pass the state legislature — as was the case for the cityhood movements of Sandy Springs, LaVista Hills, Tucker, East Cobb, Stonecrest and Mableton.
The Georgia executives said they plan to pause consideration of de-annexing Buckhead until new Mayor Andre Dickens has time to effectively curtail the rise of violent crime in the city. The main driving force of the movement since its inception has been the rising crime rates in Atlanta, as previously reported in The Well News.
For now, groups opposing Buckhead’s de-annexation are praising the general assembly’s decision but not yet surrendering the fight. Officials with the Committee for a United Atlanta, the main group opposing the cityhood movement, released a statement on Thursday warning that the measure still has a chance to be revived before the end of this year’s legislative session.
“The Committee for a United Atlanta and our allies are pleased that legislation to break up Atlanta has stalled in the general assembly,” co-Chairs Linda Klein and Edward Lindsey said in a joint statement. “We appreciate and applaud the leadership of Lt. Gov. Duncan and Speaker Ralston on their willingness to give new Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens a chance to do his job. However, the work we have been doing will continue.”
Reece can be reached at [email protected]