Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Milton County Georgia

Where is Milton County, Georgia? It doesn't technically exist anymore. If you take a look at a county map of Fulton County, you'll see an odd-shaped bump at the top. That bump used to be Milton County. Milton County fell on hard times back in the late-20's to early-30's and Fulton County took it over. The area that was Milton County has changed a lot in the past 80 or so years and it's now one of the wealthiest areas in the state. Residents of the area feel that their best interests are not being represented by Fulton County and they now want to reform Milton County. By "now" I mean "off-and-on for the past 20 or so years." This is nothing new but it's something I figured would've been brought up sooner after the Republican takeover of the state legislature.

There's a bit of a problem for the pro Milton County crowd: the state of Georgia has a constitutional cap on the number of counties allowed in the state and Georgia is at that limit. The two scenarios possible to create Milton County are a constitutional ammendment or a merger of counties elsewhere to bring the number low enough to allow Milton County to form. Last time around, the latter was pushed for. This time, they're aiming for a full-fledged constitutional ammendment.

I used to be sympathetic the the Milton County cause. The northern residents were getting pretty hosed by Fulton when it came to tax money spent on them. Back in the 1990's, about $.60 of every dollar contributed from the northern residents of Fulton was spent in the northern area of the county. The rest was spent in the city of Atlanta. On top of that, Fulton County consistently pushed for new prisons to be built at the northern end of the county where crime is relatively low. But as of December 2006 there are no more unincorporated areas left in the are of Fulton County where Milton used to exist. Future tax money will be spent almost entirely in the area collected thanks to the complete municipalization (both north and south) of Fulton County and the Shafer Ammendment requiring counties to spend tax money in the region where it was collected. Now any attempt to seceed from Fulton would be for reasons of regional pride near as I can tell though it's still being spun as an economic issue from the pro Milton County side and as a racial issue from the anti Milton County side.

Like the many times it has been discussed before, I just find it hard to believe there will ever be another Milton County is what is now north Fulton County. I really believe this is just pandering on the part of Jan Jones, a state representative from Roswell who introduced the Milton County ammendment bill.

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