ATLANTA - The topic was not on the agenda, but the push to form "Buckhead City" still managed to work its way into the discussion Monday as two state House committees held a joint meeting on annexation and cityhood.
"This is a meeting about process and procedures. We will not be taking up any specific cityhood issues," said State Rep. Darlene Taylor, R-Thomasville, who chairs the House Governmental Affairs Committee.
The meeting was the fourth for the Cityhood and Annexation Study Committee and was focused on how cities are created in Georgia. It was when lawmakers began to discuss service delivery strategy, however, that the issue of Buckhead leaving the City of Atlanta came up.
"Who owns the Atlanta firehouses that would be in the Buckhead city?" State Rep. Shea Roberts, D-Atlanta, asked. "Does the City of Atlanta own those? If Atlanta says, 'I'm not going to provide..."
"I'm going to interrupt here. We're not getting into Buckhead," said Rep. Taylor.
Committee Chairman Victor Anderson, R-Cornelia, said while many are focused on the Buckhead cityhood movement, there are several others also under consideration.
"While that is the most significant and taking up a lot of press time and a lot of discussion right now, there are four other cities that have been requested to form in the state that are important also," Rep. Anderson said.
Rep. Roberts, who represents a portion of Buckhead, said it is important for both lawmakers and voters to know about all the possible impacts of cityhood.
"Overall crime numbers are down, but violent crime is up and so, people are afraid right now. But we don't want to make decisions that are just based in fear. We want to make sure that we understand all of the pieces that go into this very complex process and that the public has the facts," said Rep. Roberts.
The study committee will hold its final meeting during next month's special legislative session.