A local legislator is hoping more voters can have a say on cityhood proposals that would carve a new city from an existing one.

State Rep. Shea Roberts (D-Sandy Springs) said Wednesday that she filed legislation in the House that, if passed, would change the rules related to the deannexation of a city to create a new city.

Roberts made the announcement during the Jan. 12 meeting of the joint House and Senate Atlanta Legislative Delegation, which focused solely on legislation that aims to create a new “Buckhead City” from Atlanta.

Currently, if that legislation is approved by the Georgia General Assembly, a referendum would be placed on the 2022 ballot and only Buckhead residents could vote whether to form a new city.

But Roberts wants all of Atlanta to weigh in.

In an email after the meeting, Roberts said her legislation would require a 57.5% vote of an entire city in order to deannex a portion and form a new city.

“In this case, all of Atlanta would get to weigh in on Buckhead City,” she said. “Why shouldn’t Morningside, Bankhead, Ansley, Reynoldstown, Midtown, and every other neighborhood in Atlanta have a say in losing 29% of its revenue? This is unprecedented for a reason and such a decision should not be made without hearing from everyone affected.”

Roberts said a first reading of the legislation is set for Friday.  

The Wednesday meeting of the Atlanta legislative delegation, hosted by Rep. Betsy Holland (D-Atlanta) and Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta), featured a slew of speakers against the Buckhead cityhood effort.

That included Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and Erica Long, senior policy and governmental affairs advisor for Atlanta Public Schools, who spoke at length about the issues Buckhead City could create for the approximately 5,000 students in Buckhead.

Holland said cityhood leader Bill White, chairman and CEO of the Buckhead Exploratory Committee, was invited to the meeting. He didn’t attend despite being offered other times to accomodate his schedule, she said.

Amy Wenk

Amy Wenk

Amy Wenk was editor of Reporter Newspapers in 2021-22.