Possibility of secession from the city of Atlanta is gaining traction

Possibility of secession from the city of Atlanta is gaining traction

The possibility of secession from the city of Atlanta is gaining traction in the affluent area of Buckhead due to increased crime in recent years. Two bills allowing Buckhead to secede from the city passed a Georgia Senate committee, and a floor vote could happen as soon as Wednesday.

If both chambers approve the bills and Governor Brian Kemp signs them, Buckhead residents could vote in the November 2024 election about whether to leave Atlanta and form their city.

Last year, former Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan opposed the move, sending the secession bill to a committee comprised solely of urban Democrats who opposed the effort. However, the state’s new Lieutenant Governor, Burt Jones, supports the measure, although the effort is still expected to face resistance in the House.

In 2021, Bill White, the CEO of Buckhead City, pushed for the suburb to divorce itself from Atlanta due to the increasing crime rate. Buckhead, one of the nation’s wealthiest ZIP codes, is known for its high-rise buildings, shopping centres, hotels, and mansions. According to Forbes, the neighbourhood was once ranked the ninth richest ZIP code in the country, with a median price of homes of $1,460,595.

White officially filed to secede from the city in June, slamming Atlanta city leadership, including former Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, for ignoring soaring crime in Buckhead and presiding over a demoralized and underfunded police department. White hopes that Buckhead, where the average home costs $1.4 million, will be able to secede to take public safety into its own hands.

The breakup would mean that Atlanta proper would have about 90,000 fewer citizens – a population decrease of one-fifth. It would also mean an approximate loss of 38% of its tax revenue, which could impact Atlanta’s credit rating. The affluent residents of Buckhead have grown weary of seeing members of their community suffer gunshot wounds, home invasions, and murders.

The secession proposal would take assets into consideration. Buckhead City would be allowed to acquire Atlanta parkland within its boundaries for a mere $100,000 per acre, despite an acre in the neighbourhood commanding 10 times that amount. Atlanta would also be required to split all assets outside its city limits with the proposed Buckhead City borders or sell them and split the proceeds.

Georgia’s legislature has historically allowed unincorporated areas around Atlanta to vote for their cities for about 20 years. However, in that time, it has allowed just one vote to leave – the wealthy small city of Stockbridge and subdivision residents rejected secession in 2018. In 2021, the last time the proposal to leave the city was sent to the state legislature, an estimated 80% of the community was planning to vote in favour of the separation.

Buckhead’s population is 73.5% white and 23.9% black, compared to the wider Atlanta population, which is 50.7% black and 38% white, according to census data.

»Possibility of secession from the city of Atlanta is gaining traction«

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