GMA's Legislative Policy Council on Thursday approved a new policy position regarding the creation of new cities in Georgia. The policy was recommended by the Municipal Incorporation, Deannexation and Credit Ratings Task Force, created earlier this year by GMA President Linda Blechinger, Auburn mayor.
The new policy states:
GMA supports citizen access to the heightened services and more responsive representation offered by municipal government. The incorporation of new municipalities should be limited to areas that would be fiscally feasible. Furthermore, new incorporations should be the most economical and effective means of providing municipal services. In addition, portions of existing municipalities should not be deannexed to create new municipalities.
The task force was created to examine the possible consequences on all cities after the passage of bills allowing for the creation of the city of Eagles Landing using existing parts of the city of Stockbridge.
Chaired by Perry Mayor Pro-Tem Randall Walker, the task force examined current laws on municipal incorporation and deannexation processes already in place and the fiscal implications of creating cities using portions of existing cities on outstanding indebtedness, bond obligations and financial ratings.
“We’ve never had a situation like what happened with Stockbridge this past legislative session, so this was new territory for us,” said Walker. “We heard from several experts on incorporation and municipal bonds and we feel like the policy adopted is the right path going forward for cities and GMA.”