John F. Schaffner
In the old days, when people felt overburdened by the city’s taxes and fees for services or just didn’t like the direction the city was moving, they would move to the suburbs, where at least the cost of owning property was less burdensome.
No longer. Today, it is all about forming new cities to correct the ills.
Once again, some residents of Buckhead are very unhappy with the way the city of Atlanta is spending their tax dollars, about mismanaged budgets, about ever-increasing property taxes and fees for city services.
They don’t want to take it on the chin anymore. What they want is a city of their own where they have a greater say in determining their destiny.
They want a city of Buckhead.
It is not a new notion. But this time it is being pushed by the Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation, a group with a substantial membership, both in numbers and community status.
Those who oppose the idea say it would bankrupt Atlanta, and it likely would, since 45 percent of the city’s property and sales taxes come from Buckhead.
But in reality, chances are that any campaign to secede from Atlanta and form a new city would meet with opposition in the Georgia General Assembly. After all, Atlanta legislators blocked Sandy Springs from becoming a city for some 20 years because it would reduce revenues to the city. And Sandy Springs was an unincorporated part of Fulton County, not a formally annexed community within a city as Buckhead is.
State Sen. David Adelman of Decatur, who likely would have something to say about granting cityhood, has called the idea “half-baked.”
State Rep. Ed Lindsey, who lives in and represents Buckhead, said he would listen to the FCTF, but he said he was “going to talk to them about the practical difficulties of getting this passed.”
One factor that might favor Buckhead, however, is that the boundaries of “Buckhead Community” — encompassing 28 square miles — were officially established in 1982 by the Buckhead Business Association, in 1988 by the Buckhead Coalition, in 1990 by the Georgia House of Representatives and in 1991 by the Atlanta Regional Commission.
But it still remains a silly notion. The solution is to work within the city structure that exists to force change and, in doing so, preserve our international city, which is the engine that drives this region.
My answer: If the officials can’t fix what is wrong on every level in the city, throw the bums out of office.