Scouring the Internet, researching websites and following a myriad of trails back to the source, it appears that discussions of Northern Albany seceding from the city and forming its own community have connections with a taxpayer group formed following the controversial 2007 property tax reevaluations.
An e-mail sent to recipients throughout the city of Albany, and strangely enough none of the local media, by Dinorah Hall, seeks input from Northwest Albany residents on whether they would join an effort to pull out of the city of Albany and form their own community.
Pointing to the recent creation of Metro Atlanta communities like Sandy Springs, the e-mail was spotted in various formats across the web including a website of Real Estate Agent Mike Flynn, who posted comments on his blog, with a link to a story about how a judge dismissed a recent lawsuit filed by black lawmakers who argued that the “super majority-white” cities — like Sandy Springs — were diluting black voting strength.
“The link below is positive since there has been some behind the scenes organization to form a new city in Albany’s Northwest sector. Just think what a new city with the tax base of the Albany Mall, Doublegate, and Chick-Fil-A could do!,” Flynn writes.
Hilliard Burt, one of the original founders of the Dougherty and Lee County Taxpayers Association, Inc., a non-profit corporation who formed originally to protest the 2007 revaluation of property taxes, said Thursday that one of his members had been following the situation in Atlanta closely for a while, but that “it’s premature to say that there is this kind of organization yet.”
Instead, Burt said that he believes that research is being done to see what legal hurdles would have to be jumped if residents wanted to form their own city.
As mentioned in Hall’s e-mail, Sandy Springs managed to reduce the city’s cost by $20 million by outsourcing virtually everything to private management companies.
According to Sandy Springs’ website, the city maintains its own police and fire departments, but many of the other services are outsourced.
After decades of attempts by Sandy Springs residents to incorporate, who at the time were fearful of being annexed by the city of Atlanta, the General Assembly changed the laws governing incorporation making it easy for cities to form.
Since 2005, Sandy Springs, Chattahoochee Hills, Dunwoody, John’s Creek and Milton have incorporated themselves from the counties in which they lie.
The only discernible difference from those cities and Northwest Albany, is that none of those cities attempted to split from an existing city.
Bob Langstaff, the city commissioner for much of Northwest Albany, said Thursday that he was unaware of any chatter about forming a new city in his Ward.
Northwest Albany residents have expressed growing resentment towards government leaders downtown for ignoring their concerns and using property tax dollars they believe they are the chief supplier of, to the benefit of Albany’s impoverished.
Email J.D. Sumner at email@example.com.