STOCKBRIDGE— For several months Stockbridge officials have voiced strong opposition to the city of Eagle’s Landing cityhood proposal, and released a statement Friday in response to feasibility study for the new city.
The results were revealed by the Eagle’s Landing Educational Research Committee during a private reception Thursday at Eagle’s Landing County Club, though no copies were released to the public. The study, conducted by the Andrew Young Center for State and Local Finance, was based on comparisons to other Georgia cities “with similar populations and demographics” and showed that the new city would be financially feasible.
The proposal entails relocating an estimated 4,000 residents from the city of Stockbridge and 14,000 residents from unincorporated Henry County to include in the new city. Though cityhood movements are common in unincorporated areas, it would be the first time a city has formed from another city, according to state officials. Stockbridge officials have maintained that the proposal, if approved, will have devastating financial affects on the city.
“Any study showing the proposed city of Eagle’s Landing as being feasible is really and truly a study giving the City of Stockbridge a clean bill of fiscal and financial health,” stated Stockbridge Mayor Judy Neal in a press release. “The proponents of Eagle’s Landing are proposing to rob Stockbridge of much of its strong vital economic base in order to create their own fiefdom. I believe the members of the General Assembly will listen to our concerns regarding the negative impact this action would have on our city and regarding the dangerous precedent that would be set in Georgia.”
An internal analysis of the proposal by Stockbridge staff shows that nearly $5 million of the revenue for the proposed new city would come out of revenues currently being collected by Stockbridge. The city plans to have all internal estimates validated by an independent study commissioned by the city of Stockbridge.
Stockbridge officials noted in the press release that the authors of the study reduced mention of the fact that Eagle’s Landing legislation proposes the takeover of nearly half the city of Stockbridge to a mere footnote.
“This has never been done in the State of Georgia,” stated Camilla Moore, Administrative and Community Affairs director for Stockbridge. “Many cities around the State are supporting Stockbridge’s position in opposing the attempt to form a new city by taking land in an existing city without the approval of its citizens. The votes taken at the Georgia Municipal Association were unanimous in favor of Stockbridge.”
“I would add, that the Eagle’s Landing feasibility study provides for a property tax, however small. We have said it probably would all along,” said Moore.
Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Ford and others on the Stockbridge City Council hope that the sponsors of the proposed legislation will be true to their word and withdraw their support of it once they see how much it will hurt Stockbridge.
“We were encouraged to hear Senator Jeffares state at the recent Georgia Municipal Association convention that he will not support moving forward if this action would harm the city of Stockbridge. We applaud his stance,” stated Ford.
Vikki Consiglio, chair of ELERC, said the committee may begin having meetings with the public after the General Election in November.
The city of Stockbridge has three upcoming townhall meetings for the public to hear the city’s stance on the negative impact the proposed new city will have on Stockbridge. They are: Aug. 16 at 6 p.m. at Cannon Cleveland Community Room, 2580 Ga. Hwy 42 in McDonough; Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. at Global Impact Christian Ministries, 125 Red Oak Road in Stockbridge; and Aug. 30 at 3 p.m. at Stockbridge City Hall, 4640 N. Henry Blvd. in Stockbridge.