A bill has made progress in the Georgia Senate that would allow residents to vote on whether they want the wealthy Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta to deannex from the city.
The “City of Buckhead City” bill, SB 114, passed out of the Republican-controlled State and Local Governmental Operations Committee on Monday and will now advance to the full Senate for debate.
Bill sponsor Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula) praised the small victory as a check on the Gold Dome’s legislators, who “too many times … forget who they work for.”
“Too many times inside this building and especially outside this building in local communities, elected officials forget who they work for,” Robertson said, per The Atlanta Voice. “So when movements happen that remind elected officials who the real bosses are, then I have to support that.”
At the federal level, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) chimed in on the conversation ahead of the committee vote, saying a vote “against Buckhead is a vote FOR crime,” while a vote in favor of the bill “is a vote FOR freedom.”
The Republican controlled Georgia state legislature is voting today on allowing Buckhead to separate from the dangerous Democrat controlled city of Atlanta and be its own city.
A vote against Buckhead city is a vote FOR crime.
A vote for Buckhead city is a vote FOR freedom.… https://t.co/mWBiRIb1pI
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) February 27, 2023
Greene added, “Can they stand against the Democrats who want to keep all the taxes taken from Buckhead (which is a lot) in the city of Atlanta or will they vote to free Buckhead and their hard earned tax dollars to be able to run their city safer and better than the city of Atlanta?”
The effort to to place a cityhood referendum on the election ballots of Buckhead residents has been years in the making but gained significant traction in 2021 as Buckhead City Committee CEO Bill White took the reins on the movement and lobbied and fundraised heavily on its behalf.
“Our [agenda], which is irrespective of politics, is just taking control back of our city,” White told Breitbart News in 2021 as the initiative was taking off. He cited recent occurrences of violent crime in Buckhead, one of the most affluent communities in the South, as one of the main drivers behind the secession movement.
Crime in Atlanta was on the rise at the time, and while a report from local outlet 11 Alive indicates that much of that has improved under new Atlanta leadership, a grim 170 homicides occurred in 2022, marking an increase in the most severe type of crime for a third year in a row.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens (D), who has made crime a top focus since the outset of his tenure last year, is adamantly opposed to carving Buckhead out of Atlanta, which would effectively decimate the city’s revenue and has raised concerns among some about it affecting the state’s bond rating.
In January, Dickens pointed to a survey showing a majority of residents of Buckhead were opposed to its deannexation from Atlanta.
Dickens said, “Another important poll ran included asking the people who live in the area of the proposed Buckhead City and 61% opposed creating a Buckhead City! We are one city with one bright future.”
For the referendum to appear on the ballot, the bill would have to pass the full Senate and the House and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) would have to sign it. At that point, those living in Buckhead would be able to vote on cityhood.
Write to Ashley Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.
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