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Why won't all of Atlanta vote on Buckhead cityhood?

In recent years, metro Atlanta has seen the birth of several new cities but this effort is unique.

ATLANTA — Like a disgruntled employee leaving a job to go out on their own, Buckhead is threatening to leave the city of Atlanta.

In recent years, metro Atlanta has seen the birth of several new cities but this effort is unique.

Before it can become its own city, voters in Buckhead will first have to decide if they want to leave Atlanta in the first place.

RELATED: Proposed 'Buckhead City' could put schools in jurisdictional limbo

One study estimates the city of Atlanta would lose $252 million in tax revenue each year if that happens. And yet, the plan is for voters in Buckhead and not other parts of Atlanta to decide.

Rusi Patel with the Georgia Municipal Association said the state legislature could do the voting without a vote of the people.

"There’s nothing in state law requiring there to be a referendum," he said. "The legislature technically could introduce a new charter for a new city but doesn’t want to do that for obvious reasons."

RELATED: Atlanta mayoral candidates discuss controversy over possible Buckhead split from city

New cities like Chattahoochee Hills and South Fulton grew out of unincorporated areas of Fulton County.

But, it was the voters living within those areas of Fulton County who had the final say, not the entire county.

"I think it would be inappropriate to have me vote on what’s going to happen in South Fulton, I wouldn’t want to put my views on them," said Bill White, who's leading the effort for a city of Buckhead.

Ultimately, it’s up to the legislature to decide who votes and the threshold voters have to reach to approve a new city.

"A good example of that was the proposed city of Sharon Springs three or four years ago, which had a 57.5% requirement. It's not always 50 plus one," Patel added.

This isn’t the first time voters in metro-Atlanta have weighed in on leaving one city to form another.

In 2018, a proposed city of Eagles Landing failed when voters in that area decided not to leave the city of Stockbridge.

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