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A Buckhead split would spell disaster for Atlanta


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Sam Massell argues against those who've recently suggested that Buckhead split off from the city and Fulton County and join Milton County:

If our state government wants to streamline operations, put that portion of DeKalb County, in which the city of Atlanta extends, into Fulton, rather than add Milton, which would result in Atlanta being in three counties.

If the all-encompassing new Milton is formed, the remaining Fulton will be one of the least educated and lowest income counties in the country. Think of what this would generate in jury awards. Think of how the crime stats would read. Think of what taxes would be on Midtown and downtown high-rise buildings.

Buckhead pays approximately 45 percent of Atlanta's ad valorem taxes, and an estimated like amount in sales taxes. To remove this from Atlanta would bankrupt the city —- an image that could bring growth to a standstill.

There is no study to suggest Buckhead would see a reduction in taxes or any other benefit from the present proposals, nor is there realistically an honorable upside for north Fulton from what many see as political punishment. Actually, even the Fulton County Taxpayers Association is reporting major strides of correction in Fulton's government, including the Board of Assessors, the public library system, the justice system and the Department of Health. The association stated that Fulton County "is, indeed, turning around, and the service delivery has vastly improved."

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Fulton wouldn't necessarily be that bad. All these buckhead/north fulton people are still in the mindset that south Atlanta and south Fulton is completely poor and stagnant, but the truth is that South Fulton is growing more than north Fulton now and even places like East Point and College Park are in a residential boom. Most of South Fulton is also becoming upper middle class African American, which is a great thing. Anyway, with that being said, I still don't think Buckhead should join Milton and I don't think a Milton County should form at all. It would be a way to further segregate metro Atlanta along racial lines.

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Oh, I don't think that's the case at all. Lots of people in Buckhead own property and businesses in south Fulton, and a good many of them have personal roots there.

The people talking about pulling out (who I would guess are in the minority) are, in my opinion, aggravated more with the city government. The misuse of impact fees from Buckhead, which are specfically intended to help with impact of the massive development there, and the reallocation of thse funds to other areas of town is a real sore spot.

But most of Buckhead is still old Atlanta, and it has been the seat of the city's power for a century. It's home to most of the city's big businessmen and developers, the source of its arts community, museums and attractions like the Aquarium and major league sports, the boards of organizations like CAP and the Midtown Alliance, its pestige schools, doctors, etc. So I'd be very surprised to see these dyed-in-the-wool Atlanta types break off. They're way too invested in the city.

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