A group trying to break off Buckhead from Atlanta released a feasibility study that claims an independent city could raise more than $200 million a year in revenue, with almost $114 million in surplus.
The Buckhead City Committee commissioned Valdosta State University’s Center for South Georgia Regional Impact for the study, which asserts the proposed “Buckhead City” could be financially feasible.
The study outlines a structure for the new city, comparing its expenses to similar-sized cities including Sandy Springs and Roswell. The study area represented 25 square miles in Buckhead with almost 104,000 residents, or about 20 percent of Atlanta’s population.
State law requires a feasibility study for legislation proposing incorporation to be considered. Supporters of the cityhood effort are hoping to get legislation passed at the Georgia General Assembly next year, which would place a referendum on the November 2022 ballot allowing Buckhead residents to vote on whether to form a new city.
The feasibility study doesn’t address the financial impact that forming a new city could have on Atlanta. But Buckhead City Committee in a press release claimed that only 6% of Atlanta’s annual operating budget (combining both the city and schools) would be required to manage a new city.
“We’ve been saying all along that taxes paid to the City of Atlanta have not generated a fair return for Buckhead in terms of city services,” Bill White, CEO of the Buckhead City Committee, said in the press release. “Given the same tax revenue, the administration of Buckhead City would deliver more and better services to the people of Buckhead, starting with a highly effective and properly compensated police force with a minimum of 250 officers.”
Opponents say Buckhead breaking off would be detrimental to Atlanta.
Jim Durrett, executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District and president of the Buckhead Coalition, called the feasibility study from the Buckhead City Committee a check-the-box study. He said it’s “not deep and overly simplistic for the complexity of what they are pursuing.”