Proposed County Impact bill urges ‘pause’ in cityhood efforts

Ken Watts | 2/7/2014, 6 a.m.

Calls for a one-year moratorium on cityhood efforts in DeKalb County are joined by a proposed County Impact bill sponsored by state Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick.

Dar'shun Kendrick

Dar'shun Kendrick

But Kendrick, who represents District 93 that covers Lithonia, Loganville, Snellville and Stone Mountain, said her bill, which calls for a six-month “pause,” is different.

“The six-month pause would not be a moratorium,” she said. “That implies an effort to kill cityhood movements. This is just a cooling off period so everybody can accurately assess what additional cities and more annexation would mean for the rest of the county.”

The County Impact bill comes in the wake of interim CEO Lee May asking the delegation on Jan. 27 to write a resolution calling for a year moratorium while the impact is studied by a committee composed of residents and community leaders.

It takes the idea a step further by making the cityhood pause state law. Kendrick said a resolution would be non-binding.

“I am not opposed at this time to supporting it,” she said in a Feb. 4 email. “However, with such a short session, something needs to be filed as soon as possible and I believe it needs to be done legislatively to correct problems with the process of cityhood in the state now and in the future.”

This week Kendrick was seeking co-sponsors for the bill that she hopes will be considered by this session of the Legislature.

“I don’t have a definite filing date yet,” she said, explaining that she wants to build support for the measure in the delegation before moving forward. Kendrick hopes to introduce the bill in the next two weeks.

The task force would deliver its report to General Assembly members six months after the group is formed.

With an early primary election set for May 20, the General Assembly is on a fast track to finish its business. Many lawmakers want to wrap up legislative business quickly so they can campaign for re-election.

Kendrick’s proposed bill outlines how the task force would be selected.

The bill requires the appointment of about eight members to examine the impact of new cities on the county as part of the process of incorporation. The chair would be appointed by “the chair or CEO of the county’s governing body,” and each member of the General Assembly who has introduced an incorporation bill affecting the county would appoint a representative.

Members also would be appointed by the chamber of commerce and existing municipalities. The Georgia Municipal Association and the Association County Commissioners of Georgia also would get to select non-voting members.

The task force would meet 30 days after its creation and at least monthly thereafter.

Its recommendations would be presented to the commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, the governing authority of the affected county, and the members of the Legislature of the affected county no later than Nov. 1. The bill lays out what would be included in the report:

nRecommendations regarding the boundaries of each proposed municipal corporation.