Thursday, July 13, 2006

In Georgia County, Divisions of North and South Play Out in Drives to Form New Cities - New York Times

It's the new version of white flight--instead of moving, just create your own little kingdom: "The board of commissioners in Fulton County has a rather dry term for the revolt that is under way here: municipalization. Everyone else calls it secession.

Except this time around, the north started it.

It began last year when Sandy Springs, a largely white, wealthy community north of Atlanta, chose to incorporate as a city so that it would no longer be under the control of county government, which is dominated 4 to 3 by black Democrats. Now that action has led other unincorporated areas of the county to consider becoming cities, and the movement includes even the county’s poorest areas.

Four referendums on incorporation are planned for the next year. Their passage would change the face of one of the nation’s most populous counties, leaving it with no unincorporated areas and a budget tens of millions of dollars smaller.

The county may no longer provide police, fire and road maintenance to the 140,000 of its 900,000 residents who now live in unincorporated areas. Sandy Springs, viewed by incorporation advocates as a model, has contracted out most of its functions in what experts say is the most extensive experiment to date in municipal privatization.

Fulton County is long and ungainly, more than 70 miles from tip to tip. Atlanta occupies the middle section, leaving the north and south geographically separate, as well as demographically distinct. The area north of Atlanta is whiter, wealthier and more developed; the southern section has far more blacks and undeveloped land."


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