State Representative Roger Bruce

City of South Fulton

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Background on South Fulton Cityhood

 
 

The quest for Cityhood in South Fulton County began...

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over 12 years ago, when community leaders met with citizens to make the case for city hood. The journey of what has become known as the Lazarus Bill for a City of South Fulton was born out of the passage of the Shafer Amendment, which essentially created several cities without charters.

Over the years the Northern portion of Fulton County created several cities and ultimately, only left portions of South Fulton Unincorporated. It became clear to Rep Bruce and others that a City of South Fulton had to be formed. Several years after a failed attempt to incorporate South Fulton, a group of business leaders led by Benny Crane conferred with Rep Bruce about a second attempt at obtaining city hood. This group was later led by Debra Bazemore, who went on to become a State Representative herself.

Representative Roger Bruce took up the mantel of Cityhood and garnered the support of other Democratic legislators who represented South Fulton (State Representatives LaDawn Blacket-Jones, Virgil Fludd, Ronnie Mabra, and others), to allow for the creation of the city, earning him the mantra as the โ€œFather of the City of South Fulton.โ€

Once the Bill passed out of the House, Senator Donzella James carried it in the Senate. It was a difficult effort to get the Bill out of the General Assembly and at one point dying in committee and thought to be lost for the session. The Bill found new life when Rodney Littles, a former member of Rep Bruceโ€™s Legislative team, Camilla Moore, a republican opperative and Rep Bruce collaborated and convinced the senate republican leadership to reconsider the vote. That bipartisan effort resulted in the bill getting new life {thus the title โ€œLazarus Bill}.

With the Governors signature the challenge to educate the voters as to the need to vote YES for the referendum began. Several community groups were formed to raise money and to campaign for a positive vote. The primary community group โ€œThe Peoples Campaignโ€, with over 400 volunteers formed several committees designed to educate the citizens on the benefits of city hood. Ultimately, after it became clear that the Fulton County Schools that serve the area would be at risk of closure if city hood failed the effort gained additional support. South Fulton residents Tony Phillips, Catherine Rowell, Kimberly Hartwell, and Monica Manning led a group of concerned parents and teachers to fight the Sandtown annexation effort by the City of Atlanta and the Sandtown Association. Linda Bryant of the Fulton County School Board used her influence to save Fulton County students from being annexed into Atlanta Public Schools and millions of dollars of tax money paid by South Fulton to build new schools from being annexed too. Thus, Protecting Our Schools & Community was born. The list and names of grassroots activist grew larger each day, (i.e. business owners, church leaders, community leaders, parents, homeowner associations, etc.).

The boundaries of the city were established by incorporating all areas in South Fulton that were not already incorprated. The exception was a five mile stretch along Fulton Industrial Boulevard that could not be included due to a local constitutional amendment restricting that area from being annexed into any city. Removal of this restriction will be on the ballot in November 2018. If this effort is successful it will allow the area to become part of the City of South Fulton.

 

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