With a new legislative session just weeks away, another push begins to break Fulton County in two.
North Fulton Republicans will try again to split from some of the region’s poorest neighborhoods and form Milton County in the predominantly white, wealthy suburbs that crown Atlanta.
The Georgia Constitution specifically limits the state’s number of counties to 159. But House Resolution 964, filed by state Rep. Brad Raffensperger, R-Johns Creek, would lift that cap under a set of circumstances that just happens to fit the history of the absorption of Milton County, in the midst of financial collapse, by its neighbor to the south in 1932.
HR 964 would amend the state constitution so a county that existed previously but merged with another county could be re-created.
If the county is re-created, the legislation says, the boundaries must be “generally similar” but would not have to be identical. The re-creation would have to be approved by voters in the proposed county.
The fight to resurrect Milton is a perennial one that has gained little traction even after Republicans took control of the Legislature and state Rep. Jan Jones, a Milton Republican and an advocate of the breakup, rose to the top echelon of House leadership.
Democrats remain deeply opposed to a split, and critics often cite concerns about the long-standing contracts that MARTA and Grady Memorial Hospital have with the county.
Some also worry that an attempt at secession could harm the area’s reputation.