Fran Millar
Fran Millar

Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), who’s backed bills to create each of the new cities in the metro Atlanta area, fell short in his effort to get the proposed city of Lakeside approved in the Legislature.

At a March 17 meeting of the House Governmental Affairs Committee, Millar withdrew his bill to incorporate a city of Lakeside in central DeKalb County after committee members said they weren’t ready to approve it.

“What you’re basically telling 70,000 people is they don’t have the opportunity to vote this year,” Millar said.

Millar said he would not be bringing the bill back before the Legislature next year.

“These people were not treated fairly,” Millar said. “When Republicans don’t let people vote for self determination … then shame on us.”

Lakeside, Briarcliff nor Tucker will be approved before the final day of the 40-day legislative session, scheduled for March 20.

Part of a last-minute agreement struck between Lakeside and Tucker advocates was that the two cityhood efforts would move forward together – something that won’t be possible this year.

“I’m very proud of the Tucker and Lakeside proponents who sat down and hammered out this deal,” Rep. Mike Jacobs, (R-Brookhaven) said. “I’m asking the committee today not to move forward with any of these bills so that we can come back and do this the right way in 2015.”

Jacobs, who participated in the negotiations between the two groups, said a significant change to the legislative process would have been required in order to approve both cityhood efforts this year.

“I fully support this compromise between Tucker and Lakeside and I hope that it will continue forward in the future,” Jacobs said.

Though Tucker and Lakeside leaders were able to make a last-minute agreement on a compromise map for the two cities, it proved too little too late for the House Governmental Affairs Committee. On March 12, the Committee voted to table SB 270, the bill to create Lakeside. Rep. John Meadows (R-Calhoun) said he felt more time was necessary to consider the potential cities.

“I don’t think there’s another person in this building that’s more pro-city than I am. I don’t like the idea that I’ve got three different sets of folks that want to be a city and if I pick one right now, I don’t think the other two have a chance,” Meadows said.

Tucker and Lakeside are two of the three cityhood proposals that were considered in the Legislature this year. The city of Briarcliff was dropped from consideration toward the end of the session.

The maps for all the three proposed cities initially overlapped, creating an unprecedented dilemma for lawmakers. It was the first time multiple cities had been considered in the same area simultaneously.

In emails to their supporters, groups advocating for the different cities expressed their dismay over the outcome.

“It is a very sad day for our neighbors and our county but we will figure out a way to move forward positively and together,” said Mary Kay Woodworth, chairwoman of the Lakeside City Alliance.

Briarcliff leaders say they plan to continue working to create the city. “Briarcliff Version 2.0 starts now,” City of Briarcliff Initiative board member Keith Hanks said in an email. “What we cannot do as residents is sit idle, expecting things to be done for us.”

Tucker 2014 President Sonja Szubski said her organization hopes to continue the momentum. “We are planning on moving forward in 2015 to pursue cityhood for Tucker” she said.

One reply on “Millar: ‘These people were not treated fairly’”

  1. The irony of Sen. Millar’s assertion that “these people were not treated fairly” is profound. His map of Lakeside extended those city boundaries to the steps of Tucker High School and Tucker’s Main Street. Where is the “fairness” in permanently dividing an existing community with NO vote allowed for the thousands of citizens who would be permanently impacted yet left out of the Lakeside map. Not only would these citizens be denied the right to vote on this, but they would be left with no option to incorporate because the remaining tax base would not support incorporation. I have truly pondered how Sen. Millar has justified this in his mind given the absurdity of his statement. While I can’t come up with a rationale explanation, my best guess is that he has so totally divorced himself from the best interests of the Tucker community that he can’t even consider the impact of his actions on them. His tunnel vision sees only the future he had planned for Lakeside, with complete disregard for anything or anyone else. Sadly his Dunwoody constituents will be the real losers in this battle as Sen. Millar has burned so many Republican bridges at the Legislature that it’s hard to imagine them supporting the school system legislation next year (much like they punted on it this year).

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