State Rep. Says Atlanta Mayor Killed South Fulton Cityhood Bill

Mar 27, 2014

State Rep. Roger Bruce (right) discussing the South Fulton cityhood proposal with members of the Georgia Senate in early March 2014.
Credit Jonathan Shapiro, WABE

The state lawmaker who sponsored the push for South Fulton cityhood says the City of Atlanta scuttled his bill at the last minute.

State Rep. Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta) says, diplomatically, he is “disappointed” the South Fulton cityhood bill died on the last day of the legislative session.

He says the got the word just a few hours before the session ended, not from a member of legislative leadership but from a lobbyist for the City of Atlanta, a lobbyist he declines to name. “I was told pretty much at the last minute that the Mayor had contacted the Lieutenant Governor and ask that he hold it up because the City of Atlanta had some areas that they wanted to annex,”  said Bruce.

That came as a surprise to Bruce. He thought annexation issues were settled long ago. “We reached out to all the existing cities and asked before we got started and asked if there was any conversation that needed to take place,” said Bruce. “And we really didn’t get any from any of the cities.”

In response to our request for information, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s office issued a statement saying the City “is not actively looking to annex property in South Fulton.” It confirms, though, it has been talking about annexation with residents of one neighborhood – Loch Lomond – since February.

When asked whether the Mayor requested that the Lieutenant Governor retire the bill, a spokesperson said the mayor was traveling today and not available for comment.

Benny Crane chairs South Fulton United, a citizens group that pushed for cityhood. He says he had heard talk of annexation during the session. “The only part that was a surprise was that the top guns came out and they effectively derailed this process,” said Crane, adding, “Uh, let me be more clear: they effectively delayed our vote on cityhood.”

Crane says South Fulton United is determined to learn from this year’s session and get back to work toward making South Fulton a city in 2015.