With all of the new cities in north Fulton County and changes brewing in south Fulton as well, a bill has been winding through the Georgia General Assembly to create a committee that could end up wiping away Fulton County’s bickering board of commissioners and changing what services the county provides and taxes it will receive.
The bill has had bipartisan support from Republicans and Democrats alike who see Fulton County as needing a complete overhaul. Even John Eaves, the new county commission chairman, says the county has to be open to change.
The bill was sponsored by state Rep. Edward Lindsey (R-Atlanta).
This is not the first time for such an effort. In the 1950s, a team of community leaders drew up a futuristic blueprint for Atlanta and the county called the “plan for improvement.” Another group recommended more local government changes 25 years after that. But there has not been a comprehensive look at reforms since the 1970s.
This present bill calls for a 16-person study committee with eight members appointed by the speaker of the house and another eight by the lieutenant governor. The group would meet through the year’s end and recommendations would be taken up next year by the General Assembly.
This panel is patterned after a similar group put together by Fulton commissioners in 2005 that recommended a number of structural and systemic changes for the county after months of deliberation.
Their report was released a year ago and ended up going nowhere. What a surprise!
Fulton County needs change not more reports. Two of the worst problems are a vacuum of power created by the weakest chairmanship in metro Atlanta and a board driven by divisive politics to the absolute detriment of important countywide issues.
One immediate change that could be put in place would be to make all of the commissioners run for office countywide, not just in their districts. That would make them more responsive to the needs of the entire county and would almost certainly clear out some of the dead wood on the board of commissioners.