Final Cobb cityhood question on the Nov. 8 ballot
Does Cobb County need another city? That's the question residents will settle on Election Day when they decide if Mableton should incorporate.
Why it matters: If the ballot referendum passes, Mableton will become the seventh and largest city in Cobb County with about 77,000 people.
Catch up quick: In the spring, Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation allowing voters to decide if Mableton, Lost Mountain, East Cobb and Vinings should become cities.
- The Lost Mountain, Vinings and East Cobb referendums, all of which were on the May 24 primary ballot, were rejected by voters.
What they're saying: William Wilson, chair of the MabletonYES! campaign, which is pushing for incorporation, told Axios that becoming a city gives residents more control over how their tax dollars are spent.
- A city can also "attract new business, create jobs, improve our parks, help school systems, assist infrastructure, and create the community we deserve," Wilson said.
Wait, where is Mableton? The proposed south Cobb city is east of Austell and Powder Springs, southwest of Smyrna and abuts the Chattahoochee River to the southeast.
- A census designated place and birthplace of former Gov. Roy Barnes, Mableton's proposed boundaries also includes parts of unincorporated Powder Springs, Austell and Smyrna.
The other side: Deidre White, a member of the anti-incorporation group Preserve South Cobb, told Axios creating a new city means increased taxes for residents.
- She also said commission chairwoman Lisa Cupid and District 4 commissioner Monique Sheffield are doing "good work" in ensuring more economic development opportunities come to Mableton.
- "There's so much development going on in a positive way," she said.
Yes and: State Rep. David Wilkerson, who represents Powder Springs and opposes incorporation, told Axios that the city-lite model advocates want to create — where the city only offers parks and recreation, code enforcement, zoning and sanitation services — leaves county residents subsiding Mableton because it will rely on Cobb for big-ticket items like police and fire.
- "What they’re doing is essentially creating HOAs," he said. "By creating a city, you're not going to spur economic development without some kind of investment by the city itself…because you're not going to have the public money to do that."
The bottom line: David Shock, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University, told Axios the proponents for incorporation have a "hard hill to climb" to convince people to create another layer of government.
- "The advocates haven't really overcome the reluctance of voters to create a whole new bureaucracy because a lot of what the advocates from Mableton want, I think, can be accomplished with reasonable negotiations with county officials," he said.
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