Incorporation or Secession?

There is an interesting article in this morning’s New York Times about the move to create new municipalities out of unincorporated areas in Fulton county. As a native Atlantan, I have mixed feelings about this article.

On the one hand, I grew up in North Fulton and have experienced firsthand the difficulties of sprawl, unrestrained growth, and the feeling of disconnectedness one has living “up in the boonies.” Sure, I didn’t own a home or pay taxes, but even a teenager can see how different life in the suburbs is from that of those living intown. On the other hand, I now choose to live intown, and I wonder what will happen to services in the intown Atlanta counties if unincorporated areas of those counties continue to “secede” from their parent county.

Overall, though, I believe that taking government to a more local level can only make that government more connected to their constituency. There is no question that the county governments tend to be out of touch with what those in the suburban areas want and need. It will be an interesting experiment seeing if this is a positive solution to some of the problems facing Atlanta.


6 Comments so far

  1. jonathan peterson (unregistered) on July 13th, 2006 @ 3:14 pm

    It may take some time, but I think the N. Fulton folks will eventually regret leaving Atlanta.

    But the REAL solution is doing what Miami did and pull together the major metro Atlanta counties into a single large government, getting rid of all the silly duplication of efforts.

    The folks in the exurbs and rural Georgia don’t want to admit it, but metro-Atlanta is the engine that drives the state’s economy. No one can afford to turn the city into a ghost town and the amazing population and building growth downtown is indicative of turning the corner and becoming a real city.

  2. james (unregistered) on July 13th, 2006 @ 3:31 pm

    i think it is important to remember that it is both NORTH and SOUTH fulton that have secession movements going. and neither are considering leaving the city of atlanta. just incorporating as part of fulton county, ala roswell, alpharetta, atlanta, sandy springs, hapeville, all of which are cities in their own right within fulton county.

    basically it means that the city ends up taking responsibility for many of the services the county used to provide; police, fire, municipal courts, parks and recs, etc.

    the real culprit here is the lack of service that fulton county provides (i have a horrible story about car tags that would take to long to recount here) and the dismissive attitude that the fulton county board has had for years toward these communities.

    its too bad, but in the end probably for the best. sometimes it takes a sea-change to get good government.

    it is amazing though, what a good leader can do. the story of what shirley frankilin has done for the city of atlanta is truly tremendous.

  3. Subdued Austrian (unregistered) on July 13th, 2006 @ 3:33 pm

    “But the REAL solution is doing what Miami did and pull together the major metro Atlanta counties into a single large government, getting rid of all the silly duplication of efforts.”

    Absolutely! Just like Pepsi and Coca-Cola. All those silly duplicated plants and packaging facilities. Or Microsoft, Apple, and Linux. Too many programmers all trying to accomplish the same thing! And who needs both Moe’s and Willy’s? They’re practically the same!

    All the efficiencies just wasted….

  4. Annie (unregistered) on July 13th, 2006 @ 9:17 pm

    Great comments! I have to disagree that N. Fulton is going to regret leaving. Have you ever been to n. Fulton? They live there because they don’t want the intown living experience. They want to occasionally take the wife to a Buckhead restaurant, go to the Dogwood Festival, see Rent at the Fox, take in a Braves game, run the Peachtree, or see U2 at the Georgia Dome. Other than that, they want to live, work, shop, sit in traffic, and go through the Starbucks drive-thru in N. Fulton. And how would separate services turn the city into a ghost town?

    That being said, I think it would be WAY interesting to see what would happen to all those county government employees, especially the upper management types, when all of their jobs are on the line and they are vying for the same positions in our new single government. Might make a funny reality show!

  5. Steph (unregistered) on July 15th, 2006 @ 6:54 am

    I have to agree with James. We’ve lived in both incorporated and unincorporated Fulton. If you aren’t in a municipality, you don’t see police – forget about calling them if you have a problem. The neighboring cities are the ones who respond, if anyone comes at all. Property crime is not important so sometimes no one comes.

    Annie, you know I disagree about why folks live in N. Fulton. If it were a reasonable to drive to work from intown, the schools were good and you could freely play outside with your kids, then many suburbanites would love to have the in-town experience.

  6. Nikki (unregistered) on July 16th, 2006 @ 9:26 pm

    Some of us horrid OTPers actually have good reasons for being OTP — our JOBS are here. My husband and I are both within 10 miles and 15 minutes of our respective workplaces. Sit in traffic my ass — I don’t sit in traffic.

    We’re in a part of N Fulton that is set to be incorporated, and honestly, I wonder whether or not it’s just going to be us dealing with a different set of theives. My experience with Fulton Co. PD hasn’t been good or bad (had to call them once b/c the neighbors left a dog all alone, outside, for a full week, and he was barking 24/7), by my experience w/ Fulton Co Animal Control was awesome. My shitty neighbor who previosly let his dogs run all over has kept them properly contained ever since the Nice Lady with the Factual Information came to visit him.

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