A bill that would have put the last parts of unincorporated Fulton County into the city of South Fulton failed to get a vote in the state Senate before the end of this year’s legislative session.
As a result of the inaction, that city and Atlanta will continue their annexation attempts for another year.
The legislation would have sent the area to South Fulton, but left county-owned land, including the airport at Charlie Brown Field, unincorporated. The legislature has twice before passed legislation that would have put the area into South Fulton, only to have it vetoed by then-Gov. Nathan Deal. Atlanta lobbied for the legislation to be delayed this year, and it was tabled on Sine Die - the last day of the session.
The legislation will still be alive for next year’s session, but since voters — and the state supreme court — said the area, which had been off-limits since the 1970s, could be annexed, the next year is largely expected to be a political free-for-all.
“I think it’s going to be a tug of war on both sides,” said Rep. Roger Bruce, D-South Fulton and the legislation’s sponsor. “Basically, Atlanta is trying to snatch that area of Fulton Industrial.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the city of Atlanta, Michael Smith, said the city was “pleased” with the delay, “and looks forward to working with our neighbors to the south toward a reasonable resolution to the matter.”
Ashley Minter-Osanyinbi, a South Fulton spokeswoman, said the city was “disappointed” with the end result, and “is engaging in its next steps in regards to annexation.”
At a Fulton County delegation meeting last month, a representative for Atlanta said the city had been trying to negotiate a compromise, but South Fulton representatives denied that that was the case.
The two cities have been fighting over the area for more than two years.
“No, I don’t think it’s going to be a compromise,” Bruce said. “I think both sides are going to be trying to get what they can.”