HB626 provides for a referendum to establish the city charter for Sharon Springs. Voters will decide on incorporation in the May 22 election. Various entities continue to promote that the new city would be a limited services city providing for planning and zoning, code enforcement and solid waste management. Nothing in HB626 provides for initial services to be limited to these three services.
Rather, the bill lists most if not all the services a city could provide under Georgia law. It follows that if incorporated, the Sharon Springs city council would have to determine what services would be provided. A minimum of three services are required by Georgia law. As it stands, the city council of Sharon Springs could select any three or all of the services listed in HB626. Voters should realize that they will be voting for or against what could be a full services city right from the onset.
Voters should not be misled by assertions by the Sharon Springs Alliance, Representative Todd Jones, news articles in this newspaper or any other source that state that the initial city services will be limited to the three above listed services.
Statements and recommendations made by the Sharon Springs Feasibility Committee and the three university studies, although likely to have influence, would not be binding on the city council if formed. Only HB626 will be binding. Statements have been made that the 0.5 mil property tax would limit the services to the three services.
Given all the ways a city can raise funds including licensing, fines, franchise fees, taxes, increased assessments, millage rate increases and borrowing, the statement that the 0.5 percent millage rate cap will limit city services is disingenuous at best. Regardless of how you vote, be aware that there is a full services city lurking in HB626.
Paul D Mayville