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Mon December 10, 2012
Fulton County Prepares for Fight Over Budgetary Authority
A top Fulton official says the county’s main priority heading into the 2013 legislative session is defending against attempts to restrict its budgetary authority.
Fulton County Chairman John Eaves says up to $50 million is at stake. That’s about how much the county spends each year on discretionary items like senior services, HIV prevention, and the arts.
“These are services that have an economic as well as a cultural impact on our communities. Citizens tell us this is what they want. So the big question is will legislators try and impose their power and authority over Fulton County this legislative session.”
Partly due to controlling the redistricting process, state Republicans have closed in on supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly.
For years, Republican lawmakers in north Fulton – citing wasteful spending by the Democrat-led county commission - have talked about breaking off from the county and establishing a new one called Milton County.
But Eaves says this year he’s more concerned about the spending restrictions. Either way, he says county commissioners will have to take a more active and direct role at the Capitol.
“The numbers are stacked up so there can be and will be direct scrutiny on the county,” said Eaves. “This is perhaps unfair but the fact is that’s where we are.”
Several Republican lawmakers in the Fulton delegation declined comment for this story, saying it was premature to discuss possible legislative action.