Saturday, August 19 ● 10AM South Fulton Library 4055 Flat Shoals Rd, 30291
South Fulton's Councilmen khalid & Mark Baker continue their joint district meetings, providing information on our transition to cityhood, political education about municipal government, and hope in the future for our youth.
Tomorrow's forum will include a Q&A session with new city department heads, including Planning & Zoning, Code Enforcement and Public Works.
The schedule for the rest of the year's forums is as follows:
Saturday, October 14 ● 11AM Saturday, December 16 ● 11AM
All events are at the South Fulton Library.
South Fulton's Election Holiday & Old National Electoral College
On Tuesday, July 25 the new City of South Fulton made history, becoming the first city in the southern United States to declare Election Day a city holiday --declaring it a Day of Political Education, similar to the MLK Day of service -- help cultivate a "culture of voting."
The Mayor vetoed the Holiday, but a Day of Political Education is still being planed -- The Old National Electoral College. Come lean how YOUR government works, from you City Council to your School Board to your State House. Read more & register for classes at the link below!
Now Hiring a Paid, Part-Time Council Aide Internships Also Available
To assist in responding to constituent concerns and planning events such as the Old National Electoral College, Councilman khalid is hiring a Part-Time Council Aide and several student interns.
Paid, Part-Time Council Aide - $15/hr+ Candidates for the paid, Part-Time Council Aide position should have experience in Legal/Legislative Research, Statistics, Public Speaking, Website Maintenance, Email Client Management (MailChimp). Experience in Adobe Photoshop/Premiere, iMovie/Final Cut, Garageband/Logic, Excel Pivot Tables, some college preferred. Hours: Monday, Tuesday & Thursday, 10am-5pm; 2nd & 4th Tuesdays 10am-10pm; and some weekends.
Interns Get hands on experience in local government from constituent services to public policy. Learn how state, county & municipal governments are structured and interact with each other. Research, analyze & write municipal ordinances, resolutions and policy papers. Flexible hours allow students the ability to earn school credits and enhance their resumes.
South Fulton's Youngest Councilmember Squares Off Against Mayor Over Election Holiday
On Tuesday, July 25 the new City of South Fulton made history, becoming the first city in the southern United States to declare Election Day a city holiday.
Though the Mayor pledged to "follow the wishes of this board," he vetoed the Holiday the very next day.
Debate & Vote, beginning at 54:53 Mayors Commitment can be heard at 1:26:21
During debate over the issue, Mayor Edwards worried the initiative was "a good idea, but just not the right time. A minority of other Councilmembers raised concerns over the city Calendar not being in sync with Fulton Schools, and data showing a trend towards Early Voting, with less people voting on Election Day.
Councilman khalid argued the data suggest that Early Voting simply spreads the same voters who would normally vote on Election Day over several more days, and may ultimately decrease the voting of others who get Early Voting days confused.
Nearly 3 out of 4 South Fulton voters did not show up for the city's inaugural elections. An Election Holiday & Day of Political Education are being planned to encourage voting.
The Resolution, written by Central Old National Councilman khalid, goes beyond giving city employees the day off, to encouraging a "culture of voting" by creating a Day of Political Education — similar to the MLK Day of Service — where citizens can educate themselves & others about issues that affect our community.
"The intent of the Holiday is to cultivate new voters by creating a Day of Political Education, similar to the MLK Day of Service, which encourages a 'culture' of voting." khalid explained. "Many people don't realize that now every year is an election year in South Fulton. We have state and congressional races every even year, and City Council races every odd year." Read more on the intent of the holiday at the link below.
Language in the Resolution references a Puerto Rican model of the holiday, and calls for businesses & residents to take the day to learn more about the Electoral Process. Voter Participation rates in Puerto Rico are 50 percent higher in Presidential Election years than those in the United States.
To increase political awareness among Southside residents, khalid is partnering with organizations such as the SCLC, ACLU & Common Cause Georgia on a political education event titled the Old National Electoral College. A day of political education classes is being planned, including How Your County School Board Works and How To Get Streetlights & Speedbumps In Your Neighborhood.
Budget Considerations Delay Transition Schedule
Employee Orientation at South Fulton City Hall
Last week the City of South Fulton held Budget Hearings to begin creating its FY 2018 Budget. The meetings, which are usually private sessions at City Hall between the City Manager & city department heads, were opened to the public by a Resolution written by Councilman khalid.
Questioning at these hearings by Councilman khalid revealed the City would have to slow transitioning of departments from the county to maintain a balanced budget. The new, proposed schedule for transferring all departments to City control is as follows:
July: Planning & Zoning August: Code Enforcement October: Parks & Recreation January 2018: Municipal Court February 2018: Police Spring 2018: Fire October 2018: Public Works
The Calendar by which the City budgets is known as the Fiscal Year (FY).FY2018 will begin October 1, 2017 (much like schools' 2018 Graduation Year begins Fall 2017). The City Manager and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) will present a proposed budget in Late August/Early September, which the public will have opportunity to comment on in an open Council Meeting.
Citywide Sanitation Service Likely to Start in November
The City of South Fulton is moving to citywide trash (sanitation) service, which will cut down on illegal dumping and help preserve our newly paved streets, in addition to qualifying our city to receive millions in additional state funding each year.
In the sanitation industry, the commercial side (pickup from businesses) yields far greater profits than residential pickup. Having a single or small number of providers -- one or two that can handle commercial & residential pickup -- will yield the lowest prices for our citizens, because profits made on the commercial side can be used to discount residential pickup.
However, some citizens prefer their current, smaller companies; and concerns about putting these mom-and-pop providers out of business are a concern. Please take the Sanitation Survey to share your thoughts on possible service providers.
Fulton Board of Commissioners Approves Tax Collection by Arthur Ferdinand
The Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted August 1 to allow Fulton Tax Commissioner Dr. Arthur Ferdinand to collect taxes for the City of South Fulton. All of the Fulton County Commission voted in favor of faith treatment for South Fulton, save North Fulton Commissioner Liz Hausmann.
Hausmann, who represents the cities of John's Creek, Sandy Springs & Milton, has announced her intention to follow in the footsteps of Republican Karen Handel, who left the County Commission to run for Secretary of State, before becoming a Congresswoman for Georgia's sixth district. Each new city has the right to enter into an agreement with a Tax Collector of its choosing. The agreement between Fulton County and the City of South Fulton to allow Arthur Ferdinand to collect our city's taxes was blocked by North Fulton Commissioners Liz Hausmann & Bob Ellis.
There are seven seats on the Fulton County Commission. North Fulton has three commission seats. South Fulton has another three seats, and the Chair of the Commission (John Eaves) is elected at-large by the entire county. A majority vote of four commissioners is required to approve the agreement.
Chairman Eaves could have sided with South Fulton's three Commissioners to approve the contract. However, the untimely death of Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner (District 4) means that now one of North Fulton's commissioners must support the agreement in order for it to be approved. North Fulton Commissioners Lee Morriis & Bob Ellis split with Hausmann — the sole vote against South Fulton.
Due to the untimely death of District 4 Commissioner, one of North Fulton's three Commissioners was needed to approve Ferdinand as South Fulton's Tax Collector. Hausmann as the only Commissioner to vote against South Fulton.
Hausmann stated repeatedly that she was simply representing the concerns of her community. However, two of the cities she represents — Sandy Springs & John's Creek — use Arthur Ferdinand to collect their taxes, and pay him the same fee being proposed in South Fulton's contract.
Hausmann alleges her issue is not with the fee, but "where it goes." County law requires that cities who choose Arthur Ferdinand to collect their taxes must pay his office $1 per parcel for doing the work. The more cities that contract with Ferdinand, the more money he & his office make. Because of his unparalleled skills in tax collection, Arthur Ferdinand has become the Tax Collector of choice for Fulton County's most prosperous cities, and the highest paid elected official in the state.
Commissioner Marvin Arrington Jr., who represents parts of the City of South Fulton, noted the double standard being applied by the North Fulton Commissioners, and reminded them of the County Commission's previous, public commitment to treat City of South Fulton no differently than other new cities.
Other tensions between the new City of South Fulton & Fulton County include the their InterGovernmental Agreement (IGA), whose terms are different than those offered to the cities of Sandy Springs, John's Creek & Milton.
InterGovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Fulton County
A sticking point in our transition to cityhood is our Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Fulton County. The IGA outlines what Fulton County will charge the City of South Fulton to continue Police, Fire, Parks, Public Works and other services until we take them over. The IGA also details what will pay for the buildings, land, cars & other equipment currently used by the County to deliver these services .
At issue is the depreciated value of these assets (how much should we pay for a 10 year-old police car?), and how much of the $322 million in tax dollars that Fulton County collected from our area in the past 10 years was used by the county to pay for and maintain them.
Fulton County Commissioners considered such factors in previous transitions with the cities of Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and others. The County Commission offered buildings, cars, land & equipment to new cities at deeply discounted prices. According to Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington, Jr., the City of South Fulton will get the same deals.
Contact Commissioner Tony Davis at 404.604.7084 for more info..
MORE CITYHOOD TRANSITION NEWS
City Council Creates Community Controlled Commissions & Advisory Boards
To increase community input in city decisions, South Fulton City Council is creating community-controlled commissions and advisory boards. Each Councilperson is allowed to make one appointment to each board.
Developer makes presentation to Sandy Springs Zoning Board
The first 3 of these boards concern Planning, Zoning & Building Codes, which individuals and developers must meet with to build anything in our city.
South Fulton's Department of Planning & Zoning will maintain Zoning & Land Use Maps, Design Overlays (which detail building specifications for each type of building in each area of the city), and track all applications for new building permits. When a developer wishes to build or alter any structure in the city, they will have to come before one or all of the following boards.
Planning Commission The Planning Commission will oversee all zoning and planning in South Fulton. Developers seeking permission to build structures, or seek zoning variances must obtain approval by a majority vote of the Planning Commission.
The Commission will meet at least twice a month AND attend a third, monthly briefing sessions from the City Planning & Zoning department. Commission members are required to attend at least 8 hours of certified training. Commission members will be compensated $155/month for their service.
Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) Developers or individuals unhappy with a decision of the Planning Commission can appeal that decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). Additionally, the ZBA will interpret unclear provisions in a zoning ordinance.This is an all-volunteer Board with no monetary compensation. All appointees are required to complete at least 2 hours of training.
Councilman khalid's preference for Planning Commission or ZBA appointees are individuals with degrees or experience in Urban Planning, Civil Engineering, Architecture, Construction, Environmental Science, Law, Commercial Real Estate or some related field.
Building Code Enforcement Board If individuals or developers are found to be in violation of South Fulton's Building Codes, those violations will be adjudicated by the Building Code Enforcement Board.
This is an all-volunteer Board with no monetary compensation. It will meet a minimum of twice per month. All appointees are required to complete at least 2 hours of training.
Preferred candidates for the Building Code Enforcement Board will have degrees or experience in Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC. Masonry, Carpentry or some related field.
Additional requirements for ALL the above Boards and Commission include:
Must attend at least 25% of all meetings. Cannot miss more than 3 consecutive meetings
Shall hold no other city office or city-compensated position
Must be a resident of the City of South Fulton
Residency in District of appointing Councilmember is preferred, but required
The Deadline to Apply for Appointment by Councilman khalid was July 30.
Future Community Boards and Commissions are being considered in conjunction with the creation and transfer of other city departments, including:
Public Safety Review Board This board will investigate and review police conduct complaints and officer-involved fatalities, among other things.
Ethics Review Board This board will investigate and review ethics complaints made against city employees and officials, including the Mayor and Council.
Youth Advisory Board This board will educate South Fulton high school students on municipal government by creating a formal process for our city's youth to offer input to City Council.
Stay connected for more information on these and other boards and commissions.
Zoning Moratorium Extended
City Council has extended the moratorium on new zoning applications, which was due to expire July 30, for up to another 90 days. The 90-day extension gives the City Manager more time to set up the Planning & Zoning Department, including the procurement of an electronic tracking system for zoning applications, and the hiring of a department manager, engineers, and site directors.
This moratorium also gives Mayor & Council more time to review & appoint individuals to community-controlled Zoning Boards being created to increase citizen involvement in local zoning decisions. The Council may lift the zoning moratorium anytime before its October 30 end date, if the Planning & Zoning department and Community Boards are ready
South Fulton Police Coming Jan 2018 with New City Name
Our InterGovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Fulton County, being finalized this month, requires the City of South Fulton to give the County 180 days (6 months) notice to establish our police department. That notice is going out soon, and we expect to stand up the City of South Fulton Police Department January 2018.
Outfitting a department with new uniforms, badges, decals and designs bearing our new city name, seal & logo will be expensive -- so we only want to do it once!
We are hiring a marketing firm to assist us in surveying the community to find a new name, motto & city seal. The plan is to have one selected by the end of the year, and rebrand all police and other city vehicles once. Visit our Get Involved page to make your suggestions.
Beginning May 3, Fulton County Police switched from scheduling officers for 12-hour shifts to 8-hour shifts. The change, decided upon before Mayor & Council were elected, puts more officers on the street; and ensures those officers are well-rested to respond to calls.
This number of officers on patrol, and the overall staffing levels of Fulton County Police, is still below targets proposed by South Fulton's City Council, which aims to transfer control of the police department to the city before the end of the year.
Code Enforcement Reunited with Zoning Under New Division of Development Services
When it is brought over under City control, the Department of Code Enforcement will be runited with Planning & Zoning under a new division of Development Services, whose director will also oversee Engineering & Site Development, Building & Permitting and Geographic Information Systems (GIS, or the "maps") department.
The plan, announced during the June 6 work session of South Fulton City Council, is designed to unify the vision and processes of all departments that deal with the planning & regulation of commercial development in South Fulton, a top priority for Mayor & Council. Code Enforcement will continue receiving backup from Fulton County Police.
Until City Council appoints a Chief Judge and sets up City Court, Code Enforcement cases will be heard by Fulton County Magistrate Court at Stonewall Tell.
Transferring Employees Get 90-Day Probation, Keep Salary & Benefits
All employees who transfer from Fulton are required to fill out a job application with the city and complete a 90-Day Probation period. City of South Fulton Human Resources representatives will meet with all transferring departments and individuals to discuss the transfer process.
Current Fulton County employees who transfer with their departments to the City of South Fulton will maintain their current pay. They will keep the same health benefits until the end of the 2017 Calendar Year, when benefits for all employees are re-negotiated with insurance companies and selected by employees during Open Enrollment.
The only change in benefits to take effect before that time is the management of the 457 Defined Benefit Retirement (Pension) Plan. The City of South Fulton has selected Mass Mutual to manage its 457 Plan. Mass Mutual has received high marks for handling investments of municipal employees. Previous contributions made to TIAA-Cref can remain there or be rolled over to Mass Mutual.
Anyone with questions about transitioning departments, transferring benefits, or employment with the new city should contact South Fulton's HR Department at Employment@CityofSouthFultonGA.gov.
South Fulton City Hall
City of South Fulton's Mayor & Council will be housed at 5440 Fulton Industrial, 30336
Work is underway to reconfigure the Fulton County offices at 5440 Fulton Industrial Boulevard into the City of South Fulton's first City Hall.
Fulton County Police, Fire, Planning & Zoning and code enforcement -- all of which will be transitioning to city control this year -- are already housed in this building. Fulton County has agreed to transfer the building's lease to the City of South Fulton; and to keep us in the building, its owner has agreed to lease & build out an additional 10,000 square feet of space at hugely discounted rates.
All this means huge savings of money and time for the City, which allows us to focus on building other city infrastructure and improving our services. Most new cities wait 7-10 years before building a city hall "from scratch," so they can build their financial reserves. This was the case with John's Creek and Sandy Springs.
New Franchise Fees for Some Utilities
Greystone customers and others may receive written notice from their utility providers about a Franchise Fee being charged by our new city. Utility companies are charged these fees to access right-of-ways on city, county and state properties. These nominal fees of 4-5% of a customer's bill usually total only a few dollars, and help fund the oversight of utilities in our city.
Click on the zoomable maps below to find out where you are in our new city.
District 6 (Central Old National) Map
South Fulton, GA Citywide Map
4 Frequently Asked Questions About Cityhood
Q: Where will City Hall be located? A: 5440 Fulton Industrial Blvd, 30336. To save money and focus on more urgent issues, we will continue using existing government buildings for now. Many Fulton County departments like Police, Fire and Zoning we are taking control of are currently housed in the office park at Fulton Industrial Boulevard.
We are also negotiating for office space at the South Fulton Annex, 5600 Stonewall Tell, so District 4, 5, 6 & 7 may meet with constituents closer to home.
KHALID will continue to visit local churches and HOA/Resident Associations as often as possible to keep in touch with the citizens of District 6.Please CONTACTKHALID to have him attend your meeting.
Q: When & where are City Council meetings? Can I attend? A: Council Meetings will be held the 2nd & 4th Tuesday of each month at 7PM. All Council Meetings are open to the public, including Council Work Sessions, which are currently scheduled for 5PM every 2nd & 4th Tuesday, just before the Council Meetings. Work Sessions are used to debate Issues, but votes on any given issue are only taken at Council Meetings. Regular Council Meetings will begin May 9 or May 23, depending on how quickly we are able to secure meeting space.
The first 30 minutes of each meeting are open for Public Comment. The first few meetings are expected to be filled to capacity, so citizens are encouraged to arrive early!Seniors & disabled citizens are encouraged to schedule rides with MARTA Mobility by calling (404) 848-5826. To sign up for this service, please call (404) 848-5389 Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 5pm. Trips must be scheduled by 5pm the day before.
Q: What services would the City provide? A: Police, Fire, Parks and Recreation, Code Enforcement, Public Works, Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development would be transferred us.The jail, schools and most courts (except for our new, Municipal Court) will remain run by Fulton County.
Q: Will my Property Taxes go up? A: Probably Not. Unincorporated Fulton county has been paying for Police, Fire & other county services on our own since 2007 (when cities like Sandy Springs & Milton “broke away” and formed their own departments). Should residents decide we want more services than we have now, you culd see a slight increase in your property taxes. However, a provision of GA House Bill 514 (our city’s charter) prohibits City Council from raising property taxes more than 1 mil (1/1000th) without a citywide vote. For a $100,000 house whose Assessed Value is $40,000, such an increase would be $40 more per year. ALL Senior Homestead Exemptions that currently apply to your county property taxes will automatically transfer to the new City.
The Calendar by which the City budgets is known as the Fiscal Year (FY).FY2018 will begin October 1, 2017 (much like schools' 2018 Graduation Year begins Fall 2017).
Budget Hearings, originally scheduled to be private meetings at City Hall, were opened to the public last week by a Resolution written by Councilman khalid. South Fulton's City Manager & Chief Financial Officer (CFO) will take the feedback they received from City Council at this hearings and prepare a draft budget for 2018 to be presented to the public at City Council meetings in September.
khalid is leading the fight to ensure that our Parks & Recreation Department is fully funded; investing in our youth before they get into trouble as a critical component of Crime Prevention. At a Strategic Planning session in July, the City Council agreed to make Parks & Rec funding our city's first priority. Read the full list below.
Before the beginning of each Fiscal Year (FY), the CFO & City Manager will present a Proposed Budget to the City Council, which will then hold a special session to hear feedback from South Fulton citizens before making amendments and approving.
FY2018 will begin October 1, 2017 (much like 2018 Graduation Year begins Fall 2017). However, the new City must have a Budget for the five months from May 1 (our founding date) to September 30, 2017. These five months are FY2017. If you someone talking about South Fulton's "2017 Budget," they are likely referring to these five months.
Before Swearing in a City Council April 29, South Fulton had no CFO or City Manager to create a budget, and no City Council to submit that budget to or hold public hearings for. So in this unique situation, South Fulton City Council will hold a Public Hearing this June for our FY2017 Budget, which covers the five months from our founding May 1 to September 30, 2017.
Click the picture above or the link below to view the Final FY2017 Budget, which can also be found on the Open Records link at the bottom of the City's Webpage, www.CityofSouthFultonGA.gov,
Whenever anyone shops anywhere in Fulton County, 1 cent of every 7.75 cents of sales tax goes to the Local Option Sales Tax (L.O.S.T.) Fund. Those pennies equal millions of dollars each month, which are divided among each of Fulton County's 15 cities, according to population size. (This is why making sure everyone is counted in the 2020 Census is critical. The larger our city's population people in our city, the larger our share of this pot, and state and federal funds.)
Now that we are incorporated as a city, these monthly L.O.S.T. payments come directly to us, and must be spent on our city. On June 29, 2017, the City of South Fulton received the first of these monthly payments, totaling $1,800,000.00. That's millions more for Police, Community Programs, Economic Development and city services.
Please read the #ShopSouthFulton section below to learn how YOU can help grow this income every month for our city!
Wraith Lounge 5021 Old National Hwy, 30349
Mon-Thus ● 5PM-Midnight Fri-Sunday ● 5PM-3AM
The cities of South Fulton & College Park are teaming up to revitalize Old National, and our team's newest star is Wraith ATL Lounge. Old National entrepreneur Sean Davis, owner of ABC Learning Academy Daycare off Old Bill Cook road, wanted to create a grown & classy establishment in the neighborhood for the parents of the little people he takes care of every day.
Named after Rolls Royce's top-of-the-line offering, Wraith ATL brings a best-in-class lounge to Old National. With elegant architecture and a matching dress code that prohibits t-shirts & sneakers, Wraith has already begun to attract Atlanta's A-list crowd.
Wraith's avant garde food offerings include Lamp Pops
Chef Frank Judkins pushes the Southside's culinary boundaries with a progressive menu that includes Lamb Pops and Lobster Mac & Cheese, in addition to perennial favorites like shrimp and wings.
Davis has made this latest offering in his business empire a family affair, running the lounge with his five sons, who all aim to upgrade Old National's image. "The higher the standard you set for yourself, the more influence you have in the community." explains Davis' eldest son Derrick, who is enrolled in Georgia Tech's MBA program.
Stop by this week to celebrate excellence in entrepreneurship at metro Atlanta's hottest new spot. Take pictures, tag @WraithATL and share them with everyone you know using the hashtag #ShopSouthFulton.
In November, voters approved an additional 0.75 cents Transportation Special Projects Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST) for road improvements in Fulton County. Monday's meeting will explain the next steps in the process, focusing on Old National Highway sidewalks. Click here to review a Complete List of South Fulton T-SPLOST Projects, which include nearly $10 million in Tier 1 funding to resurface South Fulton's busiest streets, and another $24 million to repave and improve roads in South Fulton subdivisions. A description of City of South Fulton improvement projects begin on page 59 (Unincorporated Fulton). Tier 2 projects in our district include bridge improvements on Bethsaida Road near Highway 139 (pg 119), $1 million to improve the intersection at Bethsaida & Creel Roads (pg 121), and another $1 million in improvements along Flat Shoals Road (pg 126).
Developers have once again set their sights on the land around our airport -- the world's busiest.Aerotropolis Atlanta is a mixed-use development, including a 4-star InterContinental hotel, class-A office space, and travel plaza adjacent to the airport’s main domestic terminal and MARTA station, which along with the Porsche headquarters, is part of a larger vision by Invest Atlanta, Delta Airlines, Georgia Power, SunTrust Bank & others to transform the vicinity around the Airport on Atlanta's Southside.
The initiative is broken into two segments -- an organization of land owners in airport areas Business Districts, or CIDs in Fulton & Clayton counties, and a larger coalition working on a more comprehensive Economic Development plan.
Fulton County Commission Tries to Freeze Property Tax Hike Fulton County (not the City of South Fulton) Increasec Property Taxes
A new "South Fulton" line on this year's tax bill replaces the SSD (Special Service District) line which has been used since 2007 to show the portion of property taxes allocated to unincorporated South Fulton, now the City of South Fulton.
The Fulton County Tax Assessor agrees not to challenge the Fulton County Commission's freezing of Property Taxes of non-new, private homeowners at 2016 levels. Adjusted Tax Notices should arrive in the mail in August. Appeals for previous notices are nullified and do not need to be filed.
According to Fulton County's Chief Appraiser, Dwight Robinson, the higher 2017 valuations will not change for commercial properties or parcels, new homes or newly renovated homes.
Finally, please check your Tax Notice to ensure that your taxable value appears on the South Fulton line (see image above). If you want to be in South Fulton, but are currently being taxed as a resident of another city, please contact the Fulton County Tax Assessor's office at (404) 612-6440.
Earlier this year, Fulton County residents were shocked to receive Property Tax bills for 2017 which were significantly higher than 2016. This increase came from the Fulton County Tax Assessor (not the City of South Fulton), who for the first time in 3 years, has re-assessed the value of homes across all of Fulton County.
According to the Fulton Tax Assessors office, property values in Fulton County have not been reassessed since the housing market began recovering 3-4 years ago. The Tax Assessor tried to make up for these lost years in this year's revaluation, which increased property taxes in some areas more than 50 percent.
The good news is that property values are rising across metro Atlanta. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the median increase in home values is around 13 percent. However, some areas — especially intown neighborhoods home to an influx of gentrifying millennials — are seeing increases of over 50 percent. This does NOT mean that your Property Taxes will rise by the same percentage, because the Tax Commissioner only taxes a fraction of that increase.
Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, John Eaves, is also running for Mayor of Atlanta
Fulton County Commission Chair John Eaves used a law from the 1880s to freeze Fulton Property Taxes at 2016 rates.
However, local school boards may vote to raise property taxes independent of the County Commission or Tax Assessor. School systems, particularly Atlanta Public Schools, have been vocal supporters of the tax hike, which they claim is necessary to stave off cuts to teachers and school staff for our growing schools.
If you have questions about your Property Tax Bill, please contact the Fulton County Tax Commissioner's office at: (404) 613-6100.
Additionally, Fulton County Commissioners are considering a 15 percent increase in water/sewer rates (5 percent/year for the next 3 years).
The Fulton County Board of Commissioners usually meets the first Wednesday of every month.
Residents concerned about these increases are encouraged to attend County Commission meetings (usually held the 1st Wednesday of every month) and contact their County Commissioner concerning these issues.
The County Commissioners covering the Old National area are Emma Darnell and County Commission Chairman John Eaves, who is running for Mayor of Atlanta. Commissioner Marvin Arrington, Jr. covers other parts of the City of South Fulton. Their contact information is as follows:
Nikki Bolden was an Old National original. The Banneker High School graduate followed in the entrepreneurial footsteps of her father, Henry "Nick" Bolden, owner of the legendary "20 Grand" Night Club, and opened multiple businesses on Old National, including The Piano Bar, The Smoking Room and Front Row Early Learning Academy Daycare. Nikki was a proud member of the Old National Merchants Association, and gave generously to support community organizations and individuals working with Old National youth.
Bolden suffered an untimely death in a car crash Tuesday night, leaving behind her parents and two young sons. All of South Fulton grieves with the Bolden family.
Gun Range Shot Down HEARING CANCELLED
Citing vocal resistance from residents, and the probability that College Park's elected official would side with their constituents, developers have withdrawn their controversial bid to build a gun range at 5025 Old National Highway (the old Target building). The hearing on the issue at tonight's College Park City Council meeting has been cancelled.
As it happened with the 18-pump gas station planned for Creel Road at Old National Highway, the clamor of concerned residents caused developers to withdraw their application before it was voted on. Continued vigilance by our residents will help ensure responsible economic development in our neighborhoods.
Governor Stops Vote on Fulton Industrial Annexation
Gov. Nathan Deal has vetoed legislation that would have allowed Fulton County residents to decide whether Fulton Industrial Boulevard (FIB) would be part of the new city of South Fulton. The City of South Fulton has won several court battles with the City of Atlanta over these last five square miles of unincorporated Fulton County, which generate approximately $5 million per year in property taxes.
It is widely believed that Governor Deal vetoed 2017 House Bills 131 & 132, which would have put the issue on the November 2017 ballot, as a favor to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Reed, along with many Atlanta City Councilmembers, have been fighting the City of South Fulton over much of its northern neighborhoods, which are adjacent to Atlanta and contain a large block of reliably Democratic, Black voters. Atlanta is on the verge of becoming a majority white city. In 2008, Reed beat Republican Mary Norwood (who is running for Mayor again this year) by only 714 votes in a runoff election.
Several FIB businesses have expressed interest in becoming part of the City of South Fulton, and South Fulton's State Representatives, lead by State Rep. Debra Bazemore (HD-63), have vowed to re-introduce the bill in 2018.
Good News From South Fulton
District 6's Newest Firefighter, Joshua Herring
The Fulton County Fire Department graduated 18 new firefighters last month, including Joshua Herring, who will be joining the brave men & women at District 6's own Fire Station #5 on Bethsaida Road. Please stop by and welcome our new neighbor!
Creel Park Tennis Courts Re-Open (Our Tax Dollars at Work In Our Neighborhood)
Thanks to the tireless efforts of neighbors in the Old National area, and the support of compassionate, Fulton County Commissioner Emma Darnell, the rundown tennis courts at Creel Park have been completely resurfaced and are now open for play.
As an unincorporated area, we gave Fulton County over $15 million of our tax dollars every year; but we had to fight to get that money back to fund projects like this. As the City of South Fulton, our tax dollars will stay in our neighborhoods. And as your city councilman, I will make sure your money is spent the way YOU want.
khalid's Commentary What is in a Name?
My City Hall Portrait
Like many young men, I came to the inaugural meeting of theAtlanta Chapter of #BlackLivesMatterangry about the unnecessary deaths of local victims like Alexia Christian, Anthony Hill, Nicholas Thomas, Caine Rogers, Ariston Waiters, and a list of others that is growing way too long. But I quickly became immersed in the interdisciplinary activism of #BlackLivesMatter, which includes fighting for liveable wages, affordable housing and access to healthcare.
Urban Farming Best Practices of Award Winning Cities
Appetite For Change is a community lead nonprofit in Minneapolis that uses food as a tool to build health, wealth and social change in the cities urban areas through community cooking workshops, and urban agriculture. The organization boasts its own neighborhood restaurant, as well as a catering company and food business incubator.
The song above was written and produced by youth in its urban farming program, which provides direct career pathways to the farming and food service industry.
No Trial for Union City Officer Who Killed Ariston Waiters
United States District Attorney announced today that there will be no trial for a police officer who killed Ariston Waiters in Union City in 2011. Union City Police Luther Lewis arrived on a call about a "scuffle between a group of high school students" and shot 19-year old father in the back as he was on his stomach being handcuffed by Lewis.
Lewis now alleges the teenager was reaching for his gun. But in a rare breaking of police confidentiality, supervising Lieutenant Chris McElroy -- first to arrive to the scene after the shooting -- says Lewis never mentioned Waiters reaching for Lewis' gun; a detail Lewis added to his retelling of events after he met with Union City's Police Chief. McElroy and other witnesses were NEVER interviewed by Union City Police or the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI). Other colleagues of Officer Lewis say the 8-year Iraq war veteran had been showing signs of PTSD prior to the shooting.
Because there will be no trial, the public will not get to view any of the evidence collected about this case. Because there will be no trial, police officer Luther Lewis will never be publicly questioned as to why he could not apprehend a teenager without shooting in the back, twice.
When police kill citizens in contentious cases such as this, a trial should be automatic, for transparency's sake, if nothing else.
In addition to body cameras, police need more training & continuing education on dealing with their own implicit biases.
Police Officers joining or returning to a force from active military duty should receive additional screening & routine monitoring for PTSD
City of South Fulton Police Recruitment policies should give preference to applicants who have lived in South Fulton for years, just as most departments show preference to those with military experience. Allowances for tattoos & ethnic hair styles should be considered to create a force that reflects South Fulton residents.
City of South Fulton Police must include a Mental Health Unit of liscened professionals to serve as the first backup on the scene of police encounters with mentally unstable individuals.