The proposed city of Sharon Springs is a hot topic in Forsyth County.
More than 770 Forsyth County News readers took part in a non-scientific survey on the proposed city of Sharon Springs hosted on ForsythNews.com. Voters living in the area of the proposed city will be able to vote on cityhood on May 22.
Of the 778 responders, 516 lived in the area of the proposed city, meaning they would be able to vote in favor of the city.
Of those living in the area, 253 responders, about 49 percent, said they planned to vote against the cityhood proposal.
“When you add government, you must increase your tax base to support the career politicians,” said Andy Wilson. “Considering that the goal of the city is to ‘control growth,’ why does the charter speak about creating additional housing? And that charter also speaks about changing the zoning to become more dense. The amount of land remaining and available for development is so small; it’s really just too late to have an impact on the city as a whole.”
Conversely, 212 responders living in the area said they planned to vote in favor of the new city.
"I want to be able to have a say in what goes on with the city I live in, and I don’t think we do right now,” said Antha Reaves, who lives in the district. “I’m concerned that the taxes might go up, but they’re going to go up anyway, so that’s not an issue. I’m a senior, so it doesn’t really worry me that much. I think we need more than one city in Forsyth County. I don’t see a reason that Cumming has to be the only city.”
For those living in the area, 49 said they were unsure of which way they were going to vote.
For all responses, which includes 246 who do not live in the area of the proposed city along with those who do, 225 felt the city would increase taxes for those living in Sharon Springs; 28 said they thought the city would result in increased taxes for only those outside the area; 330 people said they felt it would increase taxes for everyone in the county; 124 said they felt it will result in no tax increases; and 68 people said they did not know if it would result in a tax increase.
After it passed the Georgia General Assembly, Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 626, which provides the process for creating the proposed city, on March 12.
To pass, the bill will need the support of at least 57.5 percent of voters, a compromise between a simple majority and two-thirds majority.
The bill allowing for the cityhood vote was previously approved by members of the state House of Representatives by a 159-3 vote, with 12 members not voting, on Feb. 8. All seven members of Forsyth County’s legislative delegation voted in favor of the bill.
In October, a 12-member committee made up of representatives from each commission and state legislative district recommended allowing voters living in the area of the proposed city to vote on cityhood.
If approved, Sharon Springs would begin with three services — zoning, sanitation and code enforcement — and would have a millage rate capped at 0.5 mills. One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 in assessed property value, which is 40 percent of the actual market value.
The approximate boundaries of the proposed city are east of Ga. 400 except the portion west of McFarland Road, south of Hwy. 20 except for areas in the city of Cumming, west of the Chattahoochee River — already a boundary with Gwinnett County — and north of the Fulton County line.
In recent years, Forsyth County and the Sharon Springs Alliance, a group in favor of cityhood, have commissioned a total of three studies on the proposed city.
Those in favor of the city have raised issues including zoning and representation, while those critical of the city have maintained it could lead to higher taxes throughout the county.