A bill that could lead to Buckhead becoming its own city passed today. Senate’s State and Local Governmental Operations Committee passed S.B. 114 by a 4-3 vote led by Republican lawmakers.
The committee is comprised of several Republicans who do not reside in the metro Atlanta area such as Sen. Rick Williams of Milledgeville; Sen. Sam Watson of Moultrie; and Sen. Randy Robertson of Cataula.
The four Republicans on the committee supported the bill, while the three Democrats opposed it. Democrat Sen. Jason Esteves called the proposed bill a “half-baked pie” that would have a devastating impact on the city of Atlanta and Atlanta Public School system.
The bill would allow a future Buckhead City to buy Chastain and Memorial Park for $100 per acre, Atlanta fire stations for $5,000 each, and buildings and schools for $1,000 each.
The bill will now go to the Republican-controlled Senate 33-23.
In 2022, a similar bill was tabled by Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan who called it a “cheap sales pitch that you vote for the city and crime goes away, all of us know that’s not true.”
Mayor Andre Dickens has opposed Buckhead cityhood and has worked on finding ways to keep the affluent area apart of Atlanta.
“I told you a year ago that I draw circles and I don’t draw lines,” Dickens said. “I’m a hell of an engineer. I can draw just about anything. …But I choose to draw circles, bringing us all together, working with the state across the street, working with those state legislators, as well as our governor and lieutenant governor. And I’ve been true to do that over this last year.”
Gov. Brian Kemp, who would need to sign off on the bill to make it law, has yet to share his thoughts on the issue.