Feb 17, 2022 - News

Kemp signs East Cobb cityhood bill

East Cobb map
On May 24, voters in East Cobb will consider a referendum to incorporate. Map: Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office

Gov. Brian Kemp has signed legislation to allow voters in East Cobb to decide if they want to become a city.

Driving the news: Kemp signed the bill Tuesday. The referendum to incorporate will be held May 24 during the primary election.

  • If approved by voters, East Cobb residents will choose their first mayor and city council members during the Nov. 8 election.
  • The city of East Cobb would have more than 50,000 people.

Why it matters: If East Cobb and three other areas vying for incorporation become cities, the money they pay Cobb County to provide services could be diverted to the municipalities, affecting the county’s bottom line.

By the numbers: According to a presentation during a Tuesday work session, East Cobb’s incorporation would mean a $23.5 million drop in revenue. That number is $9 million for Lost Mountain, $10.8 million for Mableton and $2.3 million for Vinings.

East Cobb is the only area proposing to take over police, fire and 911 services. The county questions what East Cobb will offer to residents, including staffing levels, training for public safety personnel and whether it will have its own 911 center or outsource that function.

What they’re saying: Commission Chair Lisa Cupid tells Axios that the new cities will not only affect county revenue, but "can also impact the services and the service level of those that could be incorporated in any new cities."

The other side: The East Cobb Cityhood Committee, the grassroots organization advocating for incorporation, tells Axios in a statement that a small percentage of revenue will be diverted from the county because it would no longer be providing those services to residents in new cities.

  • “The county’s rushed attempt at analysis clearly was not thorough enough because many vital details on actual costs still need to be disclosed by the county,” it said. “They had a year to analyze this properly and failed to do so.”

Yes, but: Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler has raised concerns about her staff’s ability to prepare for the East Cobb referendum while ensuring it completes the redistricting process on time.

What we’re watching: Cityhood bills for Vinings and Lost Mountain were approved last week by the state House and are waiting to be considered in the Senate.

  • The bill to incorporate Mableton has not yet been voted on in the House.
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