Bills at the state Capitol would affect the balance of power on the Fulton County Commission.
This issue focuses on long-standing tensions between north and south Fulton County. Legislation here at the capital would affect the county on several levels. Bills in the state house would re-district Fulton county commission seats, reduce property taxes, and make it easier to fire county employees.
Republican lawmakers say that changes to Fulton County government are overdue, as large segments of the county are incorporated into cities.
But opponents who stood outside of the capital on Tuesday say that the changes would damage county government and ease the way for those who want to recreate Milton County in north Fulton.
"They are the contingent of people who live north of I-20 who actually want their own county. We understand that. And their goal is to minimize Fulton County down to nothing so that it will make their road easier to re-create Milton County," Benny Crane said.
Opponents say that the commission's actions in turns of dilution of the north and south Fulton area would have the effect of reducing minority voting strength. However, supporters of the legislation say that north Fulton is long overdue for more representation.
House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey says the commission redistricting proposal eliminating one of two at-large seats resulted from a bi-partisan study.
"At that time, we unanimously suggested that we go to a situation where we have all districts except for the chair of the commission," Lindsey said.
Lindsey says the overall goal of the legislation is to reduce the footprint of Fulton County government.
"All we are trying to do here is say, ‘Fulton County government, folks have chosen to live in cities, let's let the cities step up and provide local services and let you recede into the background,'" said Lindsey.
The House approved the Fulton Commission redistricting bill on Friday, sending the measure to the state Senate.
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