New Georgia cities elect inaugural mayors, city councils
On November 8, 2016, Georgia voters approved the creation of the new cities of Stonecrest and South Fulton. Now, they’re electing leadership.
Stonecrest and South Fulton represent the latest in a wave of newly incorporated cities across the Metro Atlanta area. Between 2005 and 2015, the cities of Brookhaven, Chattahoochee Hills, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Milton, Peachtree Corners, Sandy Springs and Tucker were created, according to a 2015 report from the Georgia House Annexation, Deannexation and Incorporation Study Committee.
“There is clear evidence that Georgia cities have grown at an exponential rate over the past decade,” the report stated. It added that city population in Georgia — which makes up 40 percent of the state’s population — grew by 22 percent between 2000 and 2007.
Stonecrest, which has about 50,000 people, elected Mayor Jason Lary and two of its city council members outright in late March, and the final three council members on April 18, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Lary, a former health care executive, led the Stonecrest YES group that sought incorporation of the city, Decatur Patch reports. He won 52.2 percent of the vote, which occurred on March 22.
“Now we have a chance to start new,” Lary told Decatur Patch. “Now we have a chance to build our city. Now we have a chance to be the economic king of the Southeast corridor. I promise you, you can expect outstanding things from the city of Stonecrest.”
In one of the more closely watched city council member campaigns, George Turner narrowly beat 19-year-old Mary-Pat Hector, who might be the youngest person to legitimately run for elected office in the state, as American City & County previously reported.
Also on April 18, 60 percent of South Fulton voters elected former Fulton County Commissioner Bill Edwards as its inaugural mayor, according to the Marietta Daily Journal and the Journal-Constitution. South Fulton, made up of formerly unincorporated Fulton County, has nearly 100,000 residents.
“Anybody, including my opponent, who wants to come in, share their ideas, share their visions, I am open and accessible to you,” Edwards told the Daily Journal. “I will work with you.” He added, “We’ve made it to self-determination. Now we must use it wisely”