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Spartan

City of Sandy Springs

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For those of you who aren't familiar with this issue- there is a push to have the State of GA create the "City of Sandy Springs." The community already exists, there is just not an official city. It is located north of Atlanta beween Atlanta and Alpharetta. If it is created it would be in the top 10 largest cities in GA I think.

Plans for Sandy Springs move ahead

By HENRY FARBER

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 01/23/05

Advocates for a new city of Sandy Springs aren't just sleeping the winter away as they wait for the Georgia General Assembly to advance their cause this spring.

They're busy planting seeds for what they promise will be a lean, efficient government, more responsive to Northside neighborhood needs than Fulton County's administration.

But skeptics question whether cityhood is the right move.

"You're basing [promises of low taxes] on costs that you have no idea of," said Steve Labovitz, who was chief of staff to former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell for four years.

Local incorporation leaders are so confident the General Assembly will approve a charter bill, they've already scheduled an April 2 bill-signing barbecue for Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Residents have formed committees to write a prospective city budget, zoning ordinances and contracts for Fulton County to continue police and fire protection. One citizen panel is discussing the transfer of parks from the county to the city.

Chief city organizer Eva Galambos said 80 volunteers are working on the committees, under the chairmanship of "interim city manager" Oliver Porter, who has been active in the pro-city movement.

Galambos told the annual gathering of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods on Wednesday that preliminary plans guarantee a budget surplus without a property tax increase.

However, Labovitz said at the meeting it is impossible to make accurate promises based on a proposed budget for a nonexistent city.

Donne Bland, a Sandy Springs real estate developer who also attended the meeting, characterized city planning as a backroom deal made by Galambos and a few allies who have little government experience.

The pro-city movement gained momentum when the Republican Party gained control of the Legislature in November. GOP leaders say they will bypass the Democratic-led Fulton delegation, which opposes the new city, and ask the Legislature to approve a summer referendum in which Sandy Springs voters can decide the issue.

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/nor...05/23sandy.html

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I think its a good plan, and I hope it goes through. Atlanta has alot of sprawl. If this city is created it could help to curb some of the effects and encourage more infill.

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I think its a good plan, and I hope it goes through. Atlanta has alot of sprawl. If this city is created it could help to curb some of the effects and encourage more infill.

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I don't think the incorporation of Sandy Springs into a city would have any effect on Atlanta's sprawl. Sandy Springs is an unincorporated area of about 25,000-50,000 people just north of the City of Atlanta's wealthy Buckhead residential area. It's just south of the City of Roswell. (The City of Alpharetta actually doesn't ever touch Sandy Springs.) Atlanta would like to incorporate the Sandy Springs area into itself, because it is a wealthy area of metro Atlanta. Most residents of Sandy Springs don't want to become part of the City of Atlanta, mainly because they see it as inefficient and believe it will raise their taxes. Fulton County doesn't want Sandy Springs to incorporate into its own city, because it will lose it as a generator of taxes to the county, which now supplies services to it (i.e., Fire, Police, etc.)

As Sandy Springs is completely built out, growth is not really an issue. It's more of a taxation vs. self-determination issue. The City of Atlanta would like to have Sandy Springs tax base and Fulton County doesn't want to lose the taxes. If Sandy Springs does become a city, Fulton County will have less money to spend on poorer areas of the county that are unincorporated.

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I don't think the incorporation of Sandy Springs into a city would have any effect on Atlanta's sprawl.  Sandy Springs is an unincorporated area of about 25,000-50,000 people just north of the City of Atlanta's wealthy Buckhead residential area.  It's just south of the City of Roswell.  (The City of Alpharetta actually doesn't ever touch Sandy Springs.)  Atlanta would like to incorporate the Sandy Springs area into itself, because it is a wealthy area of metro Atlanta.  Most residents of Sandy Springs don't want to become part of the City of Atlanta, mainly because they see it as inefficient and believe it will raise their taxes.  Fulton County doesn't want Sandy Springs to incorporate into its own city, because it will lose it as a generator of taxes to the county, which now supplies services to it (i.e., Fire, Police, etc.) 

As Sandy Springs is completely built out, growth is not really an issue.  It's more of a taxation vs. self-determination issue.  The City of Atlanta would like to have Sandy Springs tax base and Fulton County doesn't want to lose the taxes.  If Sandy Springs does become a city, Fulton County will have less money to spend on poorer areas of the county that are unincorporated.

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I am not sure about the issue. Atlanta definetly needs the money but its not the job of people living in Sandy Springs to pay the taxes for the rest of the county, especially if they dont get the services in return (which they dont).

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Obviuosly they don't feel that they are getting a good return if they are wanting to incoporate. That and they don't want to be annexed by Atlanta. BUt Atlanta hasn't annexed anything since the 70's right? Not really a precedent for it.

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Obviuosly they don't feel that they are getting a good return if they are wanting to incoporate. That and they don't want to be annexed by Atlanta. BUt Atlanta hasn't annexed anything since the 70's right? Not really a precedent for it.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The City of Atlanta has made very clear that they would like the Sandy Springs area to become part of the City. Strangely enough, because Sandy Springs is very Republican, while the majority of the City is Democrat, the incorporation of Sandy Springs could actually give the City a Republican majority.

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wait a minute? Sandy springs is part of atlanta already. If you live in sandy springs your address wouldn;t say sandy springs, GA, it would say Atlanta, GA.

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Having the address is not the same as being legally part of the city. Sandy Springs is not within the City of Atlanta. It is very possible to have a city's address, but not live withint the city.

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Having the address is not the same as being legally part of the city. Sandy Springs is not within the City of Atlanta. It is very possible to have a city's address,  but not live withint the city.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

So then why do sandy springs taxspayers money go to the city of atlanta?

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They shouldn't except through the State's allocation of funds. They should pay to Fulton County. If they were annexed, they would pay into the City of Atlanta.

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They shouldn't except through the State's allocation of funds. They should pay to Fulton County. If they were annexed, they would pay into the City of Atlanta.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Um no.... I though that that was the whole reason why people want Sandy Springs to become its own city. So are you saying the issue is that Sandy springs people feel the money they are paying is going to other parts of the county and not to S.S? So if they become a city the taxes will go to the city of S.S. and not to fulton county? And also why would people have an Atlanta address in S.S. if it is not in the city? If S.S. is not a city and its not part of Atlanta, where is it?

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It's too bad that it will never happen, but Sandy Springs and other areas should be part of the city. As for the balance in politics, maybe. Buckhead/N Atlanta is very wealthy and Republican anyway. Regardless it is insane that a metro of 4.5 million only have 400,000 within the city limits.

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Um no.... I though that that  was the whole reason why people want Sandy Springs to become its own city. So are you saying the issue is that Sandy springs people feel the money they are paying is going to other parts of the county and not to S.S? So if they become a city the taxes will go to the city of S.S. and not to fulton county? And also why would people have an Atlanta  address in S.S. if it is not in the city? If S.S. is not a city and its not part of Atlanta, where is it?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Sandy Springs is an unincorporated part of Fulton County. When an area is unincorporated, it is not part of any city. It's sorta just "there." The lines between city and unincorporated areas are sometimes very blurry, so it can seem confusing, especially since Sandy Springs is so urbanized and developed.

So if they become a city the taxes will go to the city of S.S. and not to fulton county?
If you were to look at a local property tax bill for a Sandy Springs address, you should see Unincorporated Fulton County taxes and not City of Atlanta. That means all the tax money gets spread around to all the parts of Fulton County that aren't part of any city. In one way, this helps balance the level of services provided to the poorer areas of the county. On the other hand, "rich" areas pay more in taxes than they get back in services, so they usually feel "jipped." For those other poorer areas that stand to lose from lost revenue, their choices are to remain unincorporated, form their own city themselves, or allow themselves to be annexed by another city, like Atlanta.

If Sandy Springs became its own city, it would still pay countywide taxes (at a lower rate), but it would also pay city taxes that would stay within the new city.

And also why would people have an Atlanta  address in S.S. if it is not in the city?

The reason Sandy Springs addresses show up as "Atlanta" is because that is the city name that is assigned to that particular ZIP code. ZIP codes are not an accurate way of figuring out whether or not an address is within a city's limits. Your ZIP code's city name is determined by the name of the post office that your mail is routed to. For unincorporated areas in large metros the city name is usually, but not always, the nearest large city.

A perfect example: if you look at some utility bills, they contain franchise fees and utility taxes. Unfortunately, some companies try to use an address's ZIP code and then send the tax revenue to the city that matches that ZIP code. If you lived in Sandy Springs and had a wireless phone bill with an "ATLANTA, GA" address, it is very possible that your wireless company could be incorrectly paying the utility taxes to the City of Atlanta rather than to Fulton County. A very similar incident happened here in Miami not too long ago.

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Um no.... I though that that  was the whole reason why people want Sandy Springs to become its own city. So are you saying the issue is that Sandy springs people feel the money they are paying is going to other parts of the county and not to S.S? So if they become a city the taxes will go to the city of S.S. and not to fulton county? And also why would people have an Atlanta  address in S.S. if it is not in the city? If S.S. is not a city and its not part of Atlanta, where is it?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It seems tivo got here first :) He is axactly right. Zip codes do not coincide with city limits. I am from Spartanburg, but I do not live within the City of Spartanburg, yet I still have a "Spartanburg, SC" address. It is a very common practice.

Sandy Springs wants to incorporate so that they won't be annexed by the City of Atlanta. Apparantly they would rather their money stay in their area rather than have it distributed in Atlanta.

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Metro Atlanta is bizarre in one undeniable way. A very small percentage of the metro population lives in the City of Atlanta, which is about 430,000 people. Metro Atlanta is around 4,600,000 or more, so that means the City of Atlanta has less than 10% of the metro's people in its boundaries.

The other weird thing is that the rest of the metro's population live in unincorporated areas. I would guesstimate that only 300,000 people in metro Atlanta live in an incorporated city, not including the City of Atlanta. Most urban dwelling Americans live in an incorporated city, even if they say they live in a larger, more encompassing metro area. Most suburbs are incorporated cities. They have a mayor, a fire department, a police department, a recreation center, etc. I have no idea why metro Atlanta did not incorporate different areas into cities as it was growing. It may have had something to do with a general southern dislike of more government.

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What about Georgia state laws?

I know SC has fairly restrictive laws, which is why we have the same situations in most of our cities (on a much smaller scale of course).

The state may have some law that prohibits annexation somehow? Any thoughts on that?

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Probably the biggest thing that has to do with people living in unincorporated areas is the taxes and the lure of new construction. Property taxes tend to be lower for unincorporated residents than city residents. It's also easier to build massive developments there.

It used to be that you had to join a city or form your own if you wanted police services, water/sewer, etc. So now that most states (in the South and West, especially) allow counties to provide services, people see less incentive to be annexed -- they're probably thinking, why incorporate when there are already police services (from the sheriff), fire, "better" schools than in the city, water/sewer lines, etc.? Maybe that's part of it. I think the only time that this system breaks down is when the county becomes majority incorporated and the unincorporated areas are scattered and difficult to service.

Not sure how it works in Georgia, but in Florida when a city wants to annex an area with a certain population, it usually goes to referendum (and those in the annexation area vote to join or not), unless those residents were the ones who requested that they be annexed. So an angry group (like a homeowners' association) could easily defeat an annexation attempt by threatening that the "evil city government" will waste their tax money and they'll get less services.

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I'm not so sure I like the incorporation idea anymore.....

City status for Sandy Springs in on-deck circle

By HENRY FARBER

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 02/14/05

Sandy Springs seeks independence. Community leaders want a mayor, a City Council and tax powers so they can govern their own zoning, traffic control and financial affairs.

State lawmakers again will take up the matter today as hearings begin on a June referendum in which local voters could decide whether they want a city charter.

If it passes, Sandy Springs, with a population of more than 85,000

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2/15/05

A state House subcommittee approved a bill that would allow residents of Sandy Springs to vote on whether to incorporate as a city, including language capping the property tax rate.

But the vote on Monday was just the first step.

The legislation could be changed as early as this week, when it may face the House Governmental Affairs Committee.

The legislation requires approval of both the House and the state Senate before a referendum would be scheduled.

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/leg...15legsandy.html

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I'm not so sure I like the incorporation idea anymore.....

Sounds like they're trying to form their own enclave. Plus it sounds like this Galambos lady is politically ambitious, i.e., she's trying to create an office she can run for.

(On another note, if this had happened 15-20 years ago, two of my favorite buildings would not have gotten built: the Concourse Corporate Center towers.)

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Indeed. If their goal is to keep density away, then I think it doesn't need to exist. A city in Sandy Springs's situation should be put in place to keep sprawl to a minimum, not the otherway around.

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Sandy Springs should not become it's own city. Atlanta should be allowed to annex that area, it would do little miracles for the city's budget. Either way Fulton County would lose, so they may as well let it benefit Atlanta. What is it with annexation in this area of the Southeast (mainly GA/SC)? I don't understand why it's so hard for cities to acquire more land.

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I don't know what GA's laws are, but in SC you have to apply annexation- so cities can't just do it by ordinance, they usually have to "force" people to do it by threatening services.

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