Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) proposed a city that incorporates all of the unincorporated areas of the county to the DeKalb House Delegation Thursday.
He said it would the largest city in Georgia, with just under 600,000 residents.
“I have unanimous support from all sections of our community that I have talked to,” he said.
Mitchell tried to fast-track bill through the DeKalb House delegation, but some of his colleagues said they wanted more information.
Rep. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (D-Atlanta) said it would be a seismic change in how the county operates.
“I would urge caution,” said Benfield, who has been in office since 1999. “I would ask for some speakers to come in and speak to us.”
Rep. Michele Henson said she felt strongly that a meeting is needed.
“We do need to have folks come in and testify,” she said. “We do need to make DeKalb County aware of what the impact would be.”
Henson (D-Stone Mountain) said the idea isn’t new.
“I have heard it many many times over my years here,” said Henson, who has been in office since 1991, “but conversation is one thing. Actual information is another. We have never been presented any figures, What is involved. What is entailed.”
Mitchell’s bill comes in the wake of the city of Dunwoody that was created in 2009 and legislation to form a city of Brookhaven. Some exiting DeKalb cities also continue to annex areas of the county.
Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Atlanta), who has led the charge to form new cities in the county, said he appreciates what Mitchell is trying to do but that he has to oppose it. He called on delegation members to proceed “very cautiously.”
“Those of you in this room who represent existing cities need to think very carefully about what this particular proposition does to the cities you represent,” said Jacobs, who has been in office since 2005.
After the meeting, Jacobs said that creating a city of DeKalb would prevent existing cities from growing through annexation.
“They would be completely boxed in,” he said.
Rep. Tom Taylor (R-79 Dunwoody) said that there would duplication of services.
“There are all those services that the county provides to the cities,” he said.
Delegation leader Howard Mosby assigned the bill to the Policy Committee.