Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said Gov. Brian Kemp, the lieutenant governor and House speaker are not likely to support Buckhead cityhood this session.
The mayor said he has spoken to Kemp, Lt. Gov. Burt Jones and House Speaker Jon Burns and all told him they were pleased with the way the city has handled public safety concerns from the affluent north Atlanta neighborhood. Atlanta Police data says crime in Zone 2, where Buckhead is located, decreased 14% last year, the most of the city’s six zones.
“They all are saying it looks like we are on the right path and we don’t need to upset the apple cart,” Dickens said. “So I don’t see any one of them being a Buckhead City backer.”
Dickens made the comments at a Feb. 1 media roundtable at City Hall. Stopping Buckhead City is the top priority of the mayor’s legislative agenda. He touted his relationship with the state to meet some of Buckhead demands at the recent Buckhead Coalition luncheon.
The mayor also noted there are many people in the state House and state Senate, and it takes just one person to introduce a cityhood bill. If passed, the legislation would give residents of the Atlanta neighborhood – where some of the country’s largest corporations are headquartered – a chance to vote on whether to secede from the city.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but I know a lot of people say we’re on the right path and they don’t want to see Atlanta broken up … into two separate cities,” Dickens said.
Former Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and the late Speaker of the House David Ralston blocked a Buckhead cityhood bill at the start of the last session. Since then, the Buckhead City movement has diminished significantly, Dickens said.
He referenced a January 2022 poll that said 51% of Buckhead residents opposed cityhood. Another poll taken a few months later showed 61% of Buckhead residents want to remain in Atlanta.
“The residents have said they support this administration,” Dickens said.