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Cityhood

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Cityhood Resource Center Logo

Cityhood Resource Center

This is a repository of documents, links, and frequently asked questions concerning cityhood efforts underway in Cobb County. 

The county government is not involved in the efforts to form new cities and did not conceive, formulate, or approve any of the legislation.

Commissioners and staff have been receiving multiple requests for information concerning the impacts of these movements on residents' lives and on the county government.  Some information on this site is preliminary as there are many unanswered questions and the proposals continue to evolve.  County government staff continues to gather information on the impacts on residents and county government resources and we will update this page as those issues arise.

NEW - Cobb's Chief Judge Rules on Cityhood Challenges

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picture of judge robt leonard

 Judge Robert Leonard issued three rulings today regarding challenges to placing cityhood referendums on the May primary ballot.  The rulings allow the referendums to remain on the May ballot, saying "this matter is not yet ripe for review."
 

WATCH! Work Sessions & Town Halls

March 22, 2022 -- A Town Hall / Q&A session was held at the Sewell Mill Library and Cultural Center on Lower Roswell Road.

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picture of town hall on cityhood

You can watch that town hall session by clicking here.
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March 9, 2022 -- A Town Hall / Information Session was held live in the BOC Meeting Room at 100 Cherokee Street, Marietta.

You can watch that information session by clicking here.
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February 15, 2022 -- Cobb's Board of Commissioners held a special work session concerning the cityhood efforts and the potential impact on county government and services.

You can watch that work session by clicking here 

General Cityhood FAQs

How did the process start? What has to happen for a city to be created?

Any group can bring forth the idea of a city under current state law.  The group must obtain legislative sponsorship for its effort.  Click here to download an informational flyer on cityhood in Georgia.   
For a city to be created the yes vote must have at least 50% +1 of the vote. Only those that live within the boundaries of a proposed city can vote on whether or not to create a city.

If a city is formed will it still be a part of Cobb County?

If a city is formed it will still remain a part of Cobb County and its residents would continue to receive most governmental services from the County.

Most of the cities that are proposed are only offering three services (the minimum required). Citizens of a city do not give up their citizenship, vote, or representation at the county level. 

 

Will I still pay county taxes?

Even if you become a resident of a new city, the county will still provide services that include the Sheriff’s Office, the Adult Detention Center, the court system, Medical Examiner, Tax Assessor, Tax Commissioner, and more.  In some proposed new cities, the county will also provide police, fire, and 911 services, as well as parks and transportation.  The county will still provide water and stormwater service to residents. 

The county’s general fund will remain as an item on your property tax bill.  The City can also require additional taxes to be paid to the city.

 

Won’t the new cities cut down on county expenses?

The county will see some reduction in expenses as the result of newly incorporated cities.  However, it should be noted that any savings are not expected to be more than the loss of revenue to the county.  This will in all likelihood not reduce the county’s general fund millage.  Cost and revenue loss estimates are being generated by our Finance Department for each potential city.

 

Won't the county have to lay off a significant number of employees and therefore save money?

Most county departments are below full staffing levels and have a large number of vacant positions.  The departments that would be most directly impacted by cityhood include PARKS (with 31 vacant full-time positions), Police (with 78 vacant positions), and Fire (with 56 vacant positions).  If new cities are formed, the county employees who serve those areas will be moved to vacancies in other parts of the county.

The new cities would impact staffing requests for future budget years.

 

What are other fees that could come with a new city?

Currently, the county collects franchise fees from cable TV providers.  These are fees generated by the provider using county right-of-way to provide services.  Cities can also levy fees on electricity, natural gas, and telephone providers and some proposals recommend doing so.  This could result in higher costs to residents of the new city for those services.

The cities will have the option to impose other fees and taxes as allowed by state law.

Did the county hire a lobbyist to work on or oppose the cityhood effort?

Earlier this year, the county authorized spending $23,000 to hire a firm to help keep county officials abreast of issues in the state legislature that could impact the county government and its residents.  The county has used lobbyists to help on the federal level, and with a robust number of issues in the state legislature this year, it was considered necessary to seek help.  These lobbyists have not done any work for the county on the topic of cityhood.

What happens to 2022 SPLOST projects inside the new city boundaries?

2022 SPLOST projects have been voted on by the general public.  Projects listed in the SPLOST booklet have to be completed, per law.  Whether or not the city manages the projects to completion in-house or by others would be the decision of the new city.

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View State Law Regarding New Municipalities HERE

Click here to view Chapter 31 "Incorporation of Municipal Incorporations" outlining the formation of new cities in Georgia.

Public Safety Cityhood FAQs

What will this mean to police coverage in the new city? (East Cobb proposal)

The East Cobb proposal does not go into great detail concerning a new police department.  Details about pay, benefits and departmental organization have not yet been released.

It is not known if this new department would have specialized units like Crimes Against Children, Canine, Homicide, SWAT, Training, Bomb, Traffic Fatality, Gang, Crisis Negotiation, etc.

There are no details on how the new department will recruit police officers.  It is unknown if this department will offer common amenities like a signing bonus, take-home cars for officers, and/or guaranteed raises.

(No other cityhood effort is planning on adding a police department)

 

What will this mean to fire coverage in the new city? (East Cobb proposal)

Cobb County’s Fire Department is an accredited department that has earned a top ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating which helps to lower home and business owner insurance costs to many in the coverage area.  A newly-created two-station fire department in the proposed city would not enjoy a top ISO rating, which could affect home and business insurance rates.

In addition, firefighters in the two stations in East Cobb currently have the support of firefighters in the network of nearly 30 other Cobb fire stations who provide backup when there are significant events in East Cobb.  Any backup for firefighters in the proposed city would have to come from a mutual aid agreement with a nearby department which currently has not been negotiated.

The East Cobb feasibility study lists a budget for the proposed fire department at $5.7 million.  Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services estimate the cost to cover the area totals nearly $12.4 million.  The City of Marietta with a comparable population lists a budget of nearly $14 million.

(NOTE: No other cityhood proposal includes forming their own fire department)

 

Fire response maps for proposed city (East Cobb proposal)

Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services was asked to generate maps of expected response times in the new city compared to current response times.

Download the current East Cobb fire response map here

View the fire response map for the proposed East Cobb city here

View the side-by-side comparison map here

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side by side fire response map

Parks Cityhood FAQs

Who will manage the parks in the new cities?

The feasibility study for Lost Mountain, Mableton, and Vinings listed parks/recreation as one of three core services to be provided.  The feasibility study for East Cobb said they may choose to provide parks/recreation as one of the services they provide.  Each city mentioned that parks would be managed by a city department.  The study provided basic budgets with revenues/expenditures based on either average cost per capita or average acreage per capita in determining the overall budget. 

Will fees/charges for recreation programs/events/classes stay the same price?

The fees and charges for recreation programs/events/classes will be evaluated by the new cities once incorporated.  Several studies mentioned that “the research team could roughly estimate revenues by assuming the new city would implement fees and charges that are similar in scope to those currently in place.”

Who will be in charge of maintaining the parks (i.e., picking up trash, cleaning bathrooms, etc.)?

Each city may provide these services by in-house staff or contracting out to a private vendor.  That would be decided by the individual cities.

Will the West Cobb Senior Center at Lost Mountain Park be taken over by the new city?

The proposed City of Lost Mountain does not include senior services and the West Cobb Senior Center (which is not under the auspices of the Recreation and Parks Department) is one of those facilities that the county will assess in conjunction with any new cities that are approved by voters.

Would the city of Mableton change how the Mable House Barnes Amphitheater would operate?

Again, this level of detail is not discussed in the study, but it was recognized by the study committee that “the operation of amphitheater-type facilities tends to fall on the edge or outside of the traditional understanding of the scope of park and recreation departments’ responsibilities."   The new city would have to decide on the best course of action for the facility.

How would new cities handle undeveloped parks and make sure they are completed?

The individual cities will have to fund any future project that does not have SPLOST funding through various methods that could include federal or state grants, bonds, public/private partnerships, and/or additional taxes.

Would the new city of East Cobb purchase the Tritt property as stated in the SPLOST booklet?

SPLOST projects have been voted on by the general public and must be completed, per law.  The only way for a project not to be completed would be to have another referendum and reverse funding for the project. 

Do all parks inside the boundaries of the new city transfer over to city control?

No, cities would have to purchase the parks.  

Will a new city take over all the parks, or can they decide which ones to purchase?

The city could decide to purchase all or some of the parks and leave the management of those that were not purchased with the county.

Would Lost Mountain Park still have both leagues and tournaments?

"Lost Mountain Park is a facility that holds games and practices for residents and also serves as a tournament site for larger tournaments.  My daughter played with West Cobb Softball and later as a teen, in tournaments against teams from all over the country."

This level of detail is not discussed in the study.  The city made assumptions in the study that “ the research team could roughly estimate revenues by assuming the new city would implement fees and charges that are similar in scope to those currently in place.”

 

Libraries and Senior Centers

What will happen to libraries and senior centers in the new cities?

None of the cityhood efforts include libraries or senior centers in their proposals.  The status of these facilities would be reviewed in conjunction with discussions with the leadership of any approved new cities.

Facilities in those proposed cities include:

City of East Cobb:               

  • East Cobb Library

City of Lost Mountain:

  • West Cobb Library
  • Kemp Memorial Library
  • West Cobb Senior Center

City of Mableton:

  • South Cobb Library
  • Freeman Poole Senior Center

City of Vinings:

  • Vinings Library

Financial Information FAQs

Information concerning the financial impact to county government

The following documents contain preliminary information.  Not all data has been collected by our Finance Department.   They will be revised as the information comes in.

These summaries represent the financial impact on county government operations in the event new cities are formed.

Cityhood Financial Summary
Cityhood Financial East Cobb
Cityhood Financial Lost Mountain
Cityhood Financial Vinings
Cityhood Financial Mableton
 

 

Statement from District 1 Commissioner Keli Gambrill

Commissioner Gambrill responds to statements

Statements are being made that District 1 has not followed the land use plan.

The only developments within the boundaries of the proposed City of Lost Mountain are:

  • Parkside shopping center;
  • Sterling Estates which was designated senior development at 4 units per acre and was developed at almost 11;
  • Lotus Park on Barrett Pkwy assisted living;
  • McConnell Green, Bel Aire, and Bel Aire Creekside, which are senior developments that were placed in very low-density residential.

Brickmont and the assisted living adjacent to McDonald's on Stilesboro at Dennis Kemp while not in compliance with the land use plan, zoning allowed for these facilities to be constructed at the edge of an activity center to which these parcels were in compliance.

Click here for a chart of District 1 zoning cases under Commissioner Gambrill

Transportation

Who will maintain roads in the proposed cities?

Who will maintain the roads in the proposed cities?

According to OCGA 36-31-7.1, the creation of a new municipality requires that the city assume ownership, control, care, and maintenance of county road rights of way within the area of the city unless there is an agreement otherwise. The feasibility studies do not include roadway expenditures, so it is unknown how the cities would maintain the roads or contract with Cobb County to continue to provide these services.

How are franchise fees related to roadway maintenance?

Each city is proposing a significant portion of revenue from franchise fees which can be collected based on City ownership of the roadways. However, the cities have not accounted for roadway maintenance. If the Cities intend to request the County continue to own, operate and maintain the Rights of Way, the Cities will be unable to collect franchise fees under State law. If the Cities intend to own the Rights of Way to allow for the collection of franchise fees, it is unclear how the Cities would contract with Cobb DOT to continue to provide roadway maintenance and operation activities.

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unified development code
What is the Unified Development Code?

Some have been characterizing Cobb's proposed use of the Unified Development Code (UDC) as a significant change in the county's land-use or zoning plan.  

The UDC is simply a method to streamline the documents, information, and requirements concerning zoning cases into one place, reducing the burden on county resources to compile this information.  It does not change the way zoning cases are handled or decided by the county and the Board of Commissioners.  Click here for more information concerning the UDC.

Schools

Questions surrounding the impact of cityhood efforts on schools

Will this mean my kids will go to a different school?
The Cobb County School Board is a separate governmental entity that generally does not change school boundaries based on city limits.  None of the cityhood efforts proposes creating a new school district.  Any action regarding school boundaries will likely not be tied to a cityhood vote.

Elections / Voting for the New Cities

Can I vote in the cityhood referendum?

Voters can check MVP to see the new districts that will be on their May 24 ballot, including whether they will be voting on the proposed cityhood measures. The list of Elected Official districts will appear on the lower right part of the screen. If the voter is in a proposed city, they will see an indicator of “District EC” for East Cobb, “District LM” for Lost Mountain, or “District V” for Vinings. It will look like this photo. Since these are temporary districts, we used an obsolete field called Fire District to hold these indicators. If the referendums pass, they will be moved to a permanent location in our system.  

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Interactive Map Center

Find out if your home is inside one of the proposed new cities in Cobb and check out the general size and location of the four proposed cities.
     
Click here to visit our GIS Department's Interactive Map Center.

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cityhood resource center documents

Cityhood Proposals, Documents, and Legislative Hearings

Proposed City of East Cobb

Download the East Cobb feasibility study here
View the proposed East Cobb city limits by clicking here
View the proposed East Cobb city limits as part of a county overview by clicking here
See the East Cobb 2022 population summary by clicking here
View the state legislation HB841 “Incorporate City of East Cobb”

Proposed City of Vinings

Download the City of Vinings feasibility study here
Download the City of Vinings proposed facilities here
View the state legislation HB840 “Incorporate City of Vinings”

Proposed City of Lost Mountain

Download the Lost Mountain feasibility study here
Click here to view the City of Lost Mountain proposed facilities
View the state legislation HB826 “Incorporate City of Lost Mountain”

Proposed City of Mableton

Download the City of Mableton feasibility study here
Click here to view the City of Mableton proposed facilities
View the state legislation HB839 “Incorporate City of Mableton”

Legislative Hearings on Cityhood

Click here for legislative information

January 12 - Governmental Affairs - East Cobb Cityhood
Click here for the agenda
Click here to watch the hearing

January 13 - Governmental Affairs - East Cobb Cityhood
Click here for the agenda
Click here to watch the hearing

January 24 - Governmental Affairs - East Cobb Cityhood
Click here for the agenda
Click here to watch the hearing

January 27 - Governmental Affairs - Vinings and Lost Mountain Cityhood
Click here for the agenda
Click here to watch the hearing

February 2 - Government Affairs - Vinings and Lost Mountain Cityhood
Click here for the agenda
Click here to watch the hearing

February 3 - State and Local Government Operations (Senate) - East Cobb Cityhood
Click here for the agenda
Click here to watch the hearing

February 10 - Governmental Affairs - City of Mableton
Click here for the agenda
Click here to watch the hearing

February 11 - State and Local Government Operations Committee - Mableton and Lost Mountain Cityhood
Click here for the agenda
Click here to watch the hearing

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Cityhood in Georgia Overview
Cityhood in Georgia Overview

Informational flyer about the cityhood process in Georgia as recently defined by the state legislature.

 

Click here to download the flyer

Cityhood Resource Page Issues/Corrections/Suggestions/Questions?

For inquiries about broken links, missing documents, or other issues, please send a message to comments@cobbcounty.org
If you have additional questions you would like the county to address, please email us at CityhoodQuestions@cobbcounty.org.

Because the cityhood proposals lack detail and the county had no role in authoring them, we will not be able to answer specific questions about the proposals themselves.  Please contact state legislative sponsors or the respective committees for more information.

If you have any suggestions for information, corrections or additions, or other issues please send us a message.