The Buckhead Exploratory Committee has been working diligently toward an independent Buckhead, because the BEC feels that cityhood is the best way for the community to thrive and prosper. They recently secured the services of a top cityhood lobbying group, and last week the group helped introduce two bills at the State Capitol to incorporate a new municipality of Buckhead City, Georgia.
Buckhead City is the most logical moniker for the proposed new city, since the name Buckhead, GA already belongs to a town in Morgan County. The town of Buckhead is near Madison, GA about an hour east of Atlanta.
This step in the General Assembly moves the process further than any previous effort has managed to go. State Senator Brandon Beach filed the senate version of the Buckhead City bill, and State Representative Todd Jones filed a similar bill in the House. These filings allow the bills to move forward during the next legislative sessions, and there could be hearings on the matter as soon as this summer.
Rep. Jones’ motion at midnight on March 31 revealed surprising support for the Buckhead City movement in the House of Representatives. Jones raised a last-minute motion for a rule change to allow the Buckhead City bill to be assigned to a committee before the end of the session. The motion did not receive the two-thirds majority needed to pass, but it did receive 105 votes for versus 61 against.
Bill White, VP of Buckhead Exploratory Committee, is encouraged by the results of this vote. “It’s pretty good indicator of where people stand. And I personally expected to see a lot more people against it.” The representatives may vote differently when the bill comes up in the next session, but White tells us, “We had more than the simple majority that [the bill] will need next session. We have 105 people that raised their hand and said I am for allowing the people of Buckhead to vote.”
White is not resting on his laurels after this surprising vote in the house. “A priority to me is to meet with all those people who, for whatever reason, voted no. I hope they’ll allow us to make our case to them, and come visit with them, and show them what we’re wanting to achieve with this.” This is the beginning stage of a long process that he feels is the best course for the community. “It’s giving people the right to vote their own destiny. It may go up, may go down. We may not win this thing. The only thing we’re really fighting for is to be put on the ballot to allow people to vote.”
The next step for the BEC is to fund a feasibility study this summer. White is also the fundraising chairman for the BEC. “We have a diverse group of donors, and we have a diverse community we’re trying to help. Fundraising is a huge part of what we need to do now because the next thing we have to come up with is $75,000 for our feasibility study.”
White thinks the community is primed for Buckhead City to become a reality, and the recent legislative action is proof of outside support. “Last week in that State Capitol in Atlanta, 105 members of the General Assembly from the entire state said, just like Sandy Springs, just like Brookhaven, Eagle’s Landing, just like Milton, the people of a particular place should have the right to determine their own destiny, period.”