Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How's that working out for you?

I have long thought that the teeth-gnashing over how horrible Fulton County was to north Fulton residents was unfair. I'm not disputing that the Fulton County Commission is horribly dysfunctional - I've had to sit through commission meetings where everyone was bickering and all I wanted to do was pull my hair out. Everyone in the county has a right to complain about that elected body.

What I thought was unfair was the idea that the Commission was specifically trying to screw north Fulton residents. The Commission can't provide decent services to anybody, and north Fulton residents incorrectly thought that the Commission was just neglecting them. I also thought they had an unrealistic idea of what it costs to provide these services.

So I always believed that the north Fulton dream of better services with lower taxes was far-fetched. And, surprise, the new City of Milton seems to be having trouble paying for everything:
City leaders say they have only a fraction of the funds needed to maintain roads and lack money for parkland and other priorities. They say the city can't afford to build its own city hall.

"We face short- and long-term challenges," said City Manager Billy Beckett. "We have a lot of needs. I've had requests for sidewalks, but there's no money. I've had calls asking for intersection improvements, traffic signalization. None of that is cheap."

"There's no such thing as a free lunch," [City Councilman Alan] Tart said. "I'll do whatever the citizens want. But we can't spend more than we receive. Preliminary results of a survey show people want better services than they received from Fulton County, better infrastructure than they received from Fulton County, more attention than they received from Fulton County. But if you ask them if they're willing to pay more taxes, most said, 'No'."
Those advocating the City of Buckhead beware!

Having just blasted those new north Fulton cities, I will make this caveat. I generally support a community's right to self-governance, and north Fulton was no exception. It didn't really affect me, and a county isn't the right form of government for an urban area, anyway. If they were dissatisfied with the services provided by Fulton County, they had the right to try it for themselves. Have fun with that (and it looks like Milton is).

The real reason I don't like these new cities is that I would like to see metro area governments move toward consolidation, rather than creating more fiefdoms. I would love to see everything inside the perimeter get served by a single consolidated government. This is of course politically unrealistic for a myriad of reasons.


  1. I like your blog! You made good points in this post. I also liked the post about the library. Please tell me someone important is reading your blog!

    Keep it up.

  2. I don't know if anyone important is reading, but tell all your friends to read! It is a lot easier to post stuff when you know that someone (anyone!) is reading.


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