Jan 25, 2022 - News

The Buckhead cityhood movement gets a PAC

Man at podium surrounded by other men

Bill White speaks at a fundraiser Monday night. Photo: Emma Hurt/Axios

The campaign to allow Atlanta's wealthiest neighborhood to secede from the city is about to get more political.

What’s happening: The Buckhead cityhood organization is starting a political action committee with $1 million in the bank, Buckhead City Committee chief executive Bill White told several hundred donors at a fundraiser Monday night.

Details: White told the crowd the PAC will back “intrepid elected officials” who support a cityhood referendum and candidates to challenge incumbent Buckhead representatives.

  • No Buckhead state lawmakers currently support the secession movement.

Of note: The Republican state lawmakers carrying the cityhood torch, who were featured at the fundraiser, do not represent Buckhead.

Another number: White reports the organization raised $250,000 Monday.

The other side: That morning, Mayor Andre Dickens spoke to the General Assembly, pushing for “one city with one bright future” because “what is good for Atlanta is good for Georgia.” He has met with leadership in both chambers on both sides of the aisle.

The intrigue: White said 30 volunteers are working on the details of a new city, including draft ordinances and a municipal court structure.

  • One major question about a referendum push has been has been whether students who live in the new Buckhead City can attend Atlanta Public Schools. School board member Jason Esteves previously said about 5,500 APS students would be sent to the neighboring Fulton County School System if Buckhead City became a municipality.
  • White tells Axios his group is drafting new legislative language that would change APS' charter so it can serve students in Atlanta and Buckhead City.

What’s next: Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan shelved the first referendum attempt, but state lawmakers could still bypass Duncan through other legislative maneuvers.

  • Gov. Brian Kemp and House Speaker David Ralston — two key supporters needed to pass any law — have remained noncommittal on the subject.

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