In 1932, the rural land of Milton County joined with Campbell and Fulton counties to create current Fulton County. During the merger, Roswell left Cobb County to join the new Fulton. Contrary to popular belief, Milton was not bankrupt at the time. Its debts were paid off and a Treasurer’s report showed a balance of $14,615.28 (although Campbell County was bankrupt). Now an affluent suburban community receiving the same county services as they did in 1932, residents wish to reform Milton to have a county government more in line with their interests. The rest of Fulton, however, is not so keen on losing the north.
It should be noted that every tax dollar paid by Fulton residents north of Metro Atlanta to the Fulton County Government returns about 68 cents in local services. Fulton taxes and spends more than double per capita that of Cobb and Gwinnett counties and that is not including MARTA and Grady Hospital expenditures. Money from the affluent (and incorporated) north is funneled to the poorer south to pay for schools and county services. As a result, many North Fulton residents feel like the county is using them as their own personal ATM.
Fulton County is massive. It contains 10% of Georgia’s population and is more populated than 8 individual states and the District of Columbia. Fulton County has the state’s only non-contiguous school district with the north and south being separated by the Atlanta public school system. The county is extremely diverse, with urban, suburban, and rural communities of all income classes.
All of North Fulton is incorporated, as of 2006. It is divided into the former Milton County block, including the cities of Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Roswell, Mountain Park and Milton, and south of the Chattahoochee is Sandy Springs. Of these cities, four are ranked in the top 15 most populated cities in Georgia. Additionally, Atlanta is the largest city in Georgia.
As of the 2010 Census, Fulton County had 920,581 residents, the most in Georgia (Gwinnett had the second most at 805,321). Of these Fulton residents, 420,003 (45.6%) lived in Metro Atlanta. Even if Milton County was reformed, the remaining Fulton County and new Milton County would still be the 4th and 5th most populated counties in Georgia, respectively.
The Georgia Constitution of 1983 limits caps the amount of counties in Georgia at 159. Consequently, reforming Milton would require a constitutional amendment. The amendment being currently sought would allow traditionally merged counties to be recreated. This would require a resolution originating in either the State Senate or House of Representatives. It would then have to be approved by 2/3 of both bodies. The proposed amendment would then be submitted to voters at the next general election. The Governor has no authority to veto the amendment. In brief, the entire State of Georgia would be involved in the decision.
Legally, there is another way for North Fulton to break away from the rest of Fulton. It would require the North Fulton region to leave Fulton and merge with another county (say Forsyth, DeKalb, Cobb or Cherokee). This would only require a vote by the majority of qualified voters (who choose to vote) in the
two counties involved. In essence, this would amount to redrawing the dividing line between two counties, and therefore would not require a constitutional amendment.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Should the Legislature Allow Milton County to be Re-Created? http://www.ajc.com/news/news/opinion/pro-con-should-the-legislature-allow-milton-county/nQc97/
University of Georgia, Creating a New Milton County: http://www.cviog.uga.edu/free-downloads/milton-county-report-6.pdf
Georgia Info, A Brief History of Georgia Counties: http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/countyhistory.htm
Jan Jones Speaker Pro Tem, The Facts on Re-Creating Milton County: http://www.janjonesforgeorgia.com/newsentry.aspx?entryid=1076
Jan Jones Speaker Pro Tem, Milton County: http://www.janjonesforgeorgia.com/milton.aspx
Canton-Sixes Patch, Amending the Georgia Constitution: http://canton-ga.patch.com/blog_posts/amending-the-georgia-constitution-part-1-of-3
City of Johns Creek, About: http://www.johnscreekga.gov/about/about.asp
Georgia.gov, Mountain Park: http://georgia.gov/cities-counties/mountain-park
City Data, Mountain Park: http://www.city-data.com/city/Mountain-Park-Georgia.html
City Data, Alpharetta: http://www.city-data.com/city/Alpharetta-Georgia.html
City of Milton, Newcomer’s Guide: http://www.cityofmiltonga.org/newcomer%27s%20Guide.pdf
Georgia Demographics, Milto: http://www.georgia-demographics.com/milton-demographics
Georgia Info, Georgia Cities Ranked by Population: http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/citypopulationrank.htm
Georgia Info, Georgia Counties Ranked by Population: http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/countypopulationrank.htm
Roswell, General Information: http://www.roswellgov.com/index.aspx?nid=125
City Data, Roswell: http://www.city-data.com/city/Roswell-Georgia.html
City Data, Sandy Springs: http://www.city-data.com/city/Sandy-Springs-Georgia.html
Sandy Springs, History: http://www.sandysprings.com/history.aspx
City Data, Atlanta: http://www.city-data.com/city/Atlanta-Georgia.html
U.S. Census, Forsyth County, Georgia: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13/13117.html
U.S. Census, Gwinnett County, Georgia: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13/13135.html
U.S. Census, Cobb County, Georgia: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13/13067.html
U.S. Census, DeKalb County, Georgia: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13/13089.html
U.S. Census, Cherokee County, Georgia: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13/13057.html