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Cumming, Forsyth County to move to Atlanta Regional Commission
FCN Forsyth County Administration Building

With Forsyth County and the city of Cumming serving as a border between metro Atlanta and the north Georgia mountains, local leaders have opted to move to a regional commission for metro counties.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs recently issued a notice of regional commission alignment for the county and city governments, which will move to the Atlanta Regional Commission from the Georgia Mountain Regional Commission. The realignment will be effective on July 1. 

The change is the result of a petition filed by Forsyth County in August, which was later approved by the DCA and approved by the Georgia General Assembly. 

Georgia has 12 regional commissions, public agencies set up to “assist local governments on a regional basis and to develop, promote and assist in establishing coordinated and comprehensive planning in the state.”

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A move to the ARC from the GMRC has been discussed since at least 2019 by local leaders, including presentations from officials for both commissions describing what they offer.

Forsyth County Commissioners previously said they favored moving to the ARC due to issues such as growth, economic development, transportation and others that are more similar to metro Atlanta counties than those in the northeast corner of the state. 

“I don’t what you’ll get with us versus them, I’m just trying to explain some of the things that we do have,” Doug Hooker, executive director of ARC, told city and county leaders at a joint meeting in 2019. “I will say that we have had the fortune and the blessing of being a larger staff and larger portfolio. That’s true not only in Georgia. We’re actually fairly unique in the nation in that very few of our peers across the nation have the breadth that we have in terms of community support roles.”

Hooker said at the time the ARC offers services including aging and independent services, arts and creative placemaking, community development, leadership building, transportation, economic development and the homeland security coordinator for Gwinnett, DeKalb, Cobb, Fulton and Clayton counties, a federal designation.

The notice stated that the realignment will not affect Forsyth County’s designation as a member of the federal Appalachian Regional Commission. 

ARC represents Henry, Cobb, Rockdale, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Douglas, Cherokee, Fulton and Fayette counties, municipalities in those counties and the city of Atlanta.

GMRC is made up of Forsyth, Dawson, Lumpkin, Union, Towns, White, Hall, Banks, Habersham, Rabun, Stephens, Franklin and Hart counties and their cities.