by Hatcher Hurd / Appen Newspapers
January 26, 2009 ATLANTA - Just as she promised, state Rep. Jan Jones placed a bill to create the county of Milton with the General Assembly on the first day of the 2009 Legislative Session. Actually, the bill is an amendment to the state Constitution that would allow any former existing county that had since merged with another county to reconstitute itself.
The state Constitution already limits the number of Georgia counties to 159.The only possible county where this could happen is Fulton, which merged with Milton County in the north and Campbell County in the south in 1932 as an economic bailout of the two faltering counties during the Great Depression.Thus other counties need not fear their borders might be changed.A feasibility study commissioned in the last session of the legislature should be released soon, Jones said.
It should show that both the new Milton and the reconstituted Fulton counties would be viable without raising taxes."The mandate to re-create Milton County becomes clearer and more pressing with each new disclosure of the continuing failure of Fulton County to provide adequate basic government functions," said Jones.
The bill has the support of the entire North Fulton House Delegation, comprised of representatives Mark Burkhalter, Harry Geisinger, Chuck Martin, Joe Wilkinson and Wendell Willard.The entire group signed the legislation with the intent to push for a vote on the resolution this year. A constitutional amendment will require a two-thirds majority in the House.Bonded indebtedness and SPLOST commitments would be continued to pay out as before. That would mean the libraries commissioned in the most recent bond referendum would be built and paid for in the prescribed manner by both counties."A two-thirds majority is a high threshold, but our constituents have clearly expressed that they feel poorly served by Fulton County.The future Milton County residents demand more local control and oversight of local issues," said Jones.