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11 March 2010

Ed Lindsey Introduces Bill To Get Fulton County Out Of The City Business

Most of Fulton County is municipalized, meaning that most residents of Georgia's largest county live in a city. The only unincorporated area left in Fulton is about 66 square miles in the southern portion of the county.

Fulton County government provides city-like services to this small unincorporated area --such as police and fire protection, code enforcement, planning and zoning-- even though it is no longer efficient for them to do so.

State Rep. Ed Lindsey (R - Atlanta) wants to end that inefficiency.

The Atlanta Republican has introduced a constitutional amendment that would require counties "which has more than 80 percent of its land area located within one or more municipal corporations" to provide only those functions designated by state law.

A New Georgia Encyclopedia article describes those essential functions as conducting local courts of law, voter registration and elections; selling motor vehicle tags; filing official records of property ownership; building and repairing county roads; probating wills; and administering welfare and public assistance programs. However, the state Constitution allows counties to offer "supplementary services" that cities would normally provide [Vyas, Amee (2002-8-12). Georgia's County Governments. The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 2010-3-11.].

Only one Georgia county meets the requirments contained in Rep. Lindsey's bill; and that county is Fulton County.

If House Resolution 1589 clears the General Assembly and is approved by the voters, then residents in the portion of Fulton County that remains unincorporated might have to look towards joining a surrounding city or creating a new municipality in order to keep receiving city-like services.

HR 1589 is co-sponsored by Democrat Kathy Ashe and currently sits in the State Planning & Community Affairs Committee.