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03 March 2015

Series of Mistakes Leads to Introduction of 5 Different City of South Fulton Bills

Cityhood advocates in unincorporated south Fulton County frequently say, "The vote is coming."

The vote refers to a referendum on creating a new city, called South Fulton. But a mad rush, by state legislators, to authorize the cityhood vote resulted in a series of mistakes and five different city of South Fulton bills being introduced in the Georgia General Assembly.

The vote may be coming, but citizens may find themselves confused about what exactly is on the ballot.

In December, 2014, state Representative Roger Bruce (D - Atlanta) pre-filed House Bill 27. This bill authorized a March, 2015 referendum on the city of South Fulton, and increased from $65,000 the mayor's salary to $70,000 annually.

Several weeks later, Rep. Bruce introduced another version of the city of South Fulton bill; House Bill 165. Calling House Bill 27 a mistake, Bruce said House Bill 165 moved the cityhood referendum from the third Tuesday in March, 2015 to the November General Election. House Bill 165 also gave citizens ninety days from the date of the November election to complete any annexations into an existing city.

State Senator Donzella James (D - Atlanta) took a verbatim copy of House Bill 165, and introduced it into the Georgia Senate as Senate Bill 140.

A third mistake has now caused two more South Fulton cityhood bills to be introduced, bringing the total pieces of legislation on this one issue to five.

In an email to constituents, Rep. Roger Bruce writes, "There was a fatal mistake made during the advertising of [House Bill 165] that is required before the bill could be dropped.

"We are required to publish an ad in the official county legal organ announcing that the Bill is going to be introduced. During that process, the word 'Fulton' was mistakenly turned into 'Hilton'. If this Bill had gone through the entire process and was later discovered to have this error, it would have given legal support to challenge the establishment of the proposed city," Bruce continued.

The two new city of South Fulton bills are House Bill 514 and Senate Bill 189.