March 25, 2005

GA Senate study to look at splitting Fulton County, GA

Senate study to look at splitting Fulton County

A little bit about Atlanta politics and counties, to start: Atlanta is one of the most spread-out cities you'll ever find. The Atlanta metro area itself is spread out over a whopping 28 counties (according to the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce). Each county is responsible for it's own police department, it's own roads, it's own libraries, etc. So, while *most* people live in counties other than the one where Atlanta resides, none of these counties share the cost of the services Atlanta provides.

Atlanta itself is contained in Fulton County, which contains both some of the poorest counties in Atlanta as well as the rich, tony areas of Atlanta. Fulton County is shaped vaguely similar to a duck, with the body and the head connected by a narrow neck. The head -- usually called North Fulton -- contains much of the richer suburbs of Atlanta, like Alpharetta, Roswell, and Sandy Springs, while the body -- naturally, called South Fulton -- is filled with Atlanta proper, College Park, and several other smaller towns.

So, the northern suburbs have complained for years that they are being taken advantage of by South Fulton, because they bring in more taxes but it's mostly spent in South Fulton, keeping the peace, building stuff, etc. Meanwhile South Fulton/Atlanta proper, which contains a measly 1/10th of the entire metro area's population, doesn't have the tax base to support themselves PLUS all of the extras that people insist that a city keep up (things like stadiums, convention centers, light rail, and major highways), isn't thrilled by any prospect of cutting off the majority of their tax base.

It's an interesting glimpse into a city grown so large, it can't support all of the growth, and the problems that it might cause. Worth a look.

Posted by Ted Stevko at March 25, 2005 03:10 AM