More info, no more ‘City Lites,’ study panel says

[private]Before any more cities are created in Georgia, the residents of those proposed municipalities should receive more extensive information on the financial impact of what they are voting on, a Senate study committee recommended.

Lawmakers should also stop establishing “City Lites” where municipalities are given only a small number of prescribed functions and powers, the committee said in their final report.

“The Committee recommends prohibiting the ‘City Lite’ concept from being included in future municipal incorporation proposals,” the report said. “Additionally, the ‘City Lite’ provisions should be closely reviewed in the charters of Peachtree Corners, Tucker, and in any pending incorporation proposals.”

The report said the City Lite concept “appears to be unconstitutional” because it limits municipal powers by local law, while “only the General Assembly is authorized to regulate, restrict, or limit the powers and services of a city.”

The Senate study committee on incorporation and annexation was chaired by Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) and included Sens. John Albers (R-Roswell), Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), Charlie Bethel (R-Dalton), and Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville).

Their report also recommended that legislators conduct further study of concepts such as townships and villages that could serve as alternatives to full-blown municipalities.

Other recommendations from the study committee:

  • Require feasibility studies for proposed new cities and require the study to include the impact on existing cities, county government and government entities including school districts.
  • Put into law the legislative rule that requires all incorporation legislation be introduced during the first year of a biennium so it can be reviewed properly over a two-year period.
  • Codify a referendum requirement.
  • Notify directly every affected local government whenever local legislation is proposed.
  • Clarify the annexation arbitration process.
  • Conduct additional study of the current process of transfer and compensation of property due to annexations and incorporations to establish a more uniform and equitable method.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: annexations , incorporations , municipal powers , new cities , Senate study committee