Georgia House approves East Cobb referendum
Legislation that would allow residents of the proposed city of East Cobb to vote on incorporation is one step closer to passing the General Assembly.
Driving the news: The Georgia House on Thursday passed H.B. 841, which now advances to the state Senate. The vote tally was 98-63.
Sponsored by Cobb County Republican state Reps. Matt Dollar, Sharon Cooper and Ed Setzler, the latest iteration of the bill would schedule the referendum for the May 24 primary election.
- If approved by voters, residents would vote for mayor and city council candidates during the Nov. 8 general election.
What they're saying: Dollar, who represents parts of East Cobb, said during Thursday's floor debate that scheduling the referendum for May avoids a special election in March 2023.
- "I feel it's a very logical and good way to do it."
He also noted that a new city of East Cobb would not form another layer of government and its citizens would not pay more in taxes.
Details: East Cobb would have a little less than 60,000 people, making it Cobb's second-largest city behind Marietta.
- An elected mayor and six city council members would serve staggered, four-year terms.
- Elected officials would be limited to serving three consecutive, four-year terms.
- An appointed manager would run day-to-day operations.
The other side: GOP state Rep. Don Parsons, whose district is also in East Cobb, said the area does not have a cohesive group of people who are pushing for incorporation.
- "There is no city of East Cobb waiting to be incorporated," he said.
Democratic state Reps. Erick Allen and Teri Anulewicz also oppose the bill. Allen said all four proposals to create new cities in Cobb County should go through the committee process and be voted on at once.
- Anulewicz added that scheduling a referendum in May could overwhelm Cobb Board of Elections staff who are working to ensure redrawn County Commission and Board of Education district maps are updated.
- Cityhood proponents say they want control over zoning, parks and recreation services, code enforcement and future land use.
Go deeper: What's behind the cityhood movement in Cobb?
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