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Forsyth says 'no thanks' to Alpharetta annex deal


October 29, 2013
FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. – The city of Alpharetta has proposed annexing five-square miles of Forsyth County.

Forsyth County commissioners voted unanimously to nix that idea at their Oct. 22 work session.

Forsyth County Attorney Ken Jarrard said on Oct. 17, Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle proposed in a letter to annex the area of south Forsyth County along the Ga. 400 corridor.

In the proposal, the county would provide services to the area and the city would provide city services.

The letter indicates that the city of Alpharetta has an interest in coming together with the county to produce a win-win situation.

Georgia code addresses the issue of a city annexing across county boundaries, Jarrard said. The typical way is that 100 percent of property owners in the affected area can petition the city to annex. The city would then forward the petition to the county.

The county can then oppose or comply.

"I don't think that's what's being done here," Jarrard said. "This is more of a 'here's what we'd like to do, and we would like to join forces and basically seek legislation by the General Assembly of the state of Georgia to change Alpharetta city boundaries.'"

Local legislators would also have to back the city's request.

"I think it would be something that would be a benefit to both communities," said Belle Isle. "There are a lot of technology companies in Alpharetta and lots of manufacturing and industrial businesses in Forsyth. There is a synergy that could be done."

A good example, he said, was Siemens, which has its corporate offices in Alpharetta, but its manufacturing footprint is in Forsyth County.

Forsyth County Commissioners said they were strongly opposed to Alpharetta annexing any portion of the county.

"There would be an increase in taxes to our citizens," Commissioner Todd Levent said of the proposed annexation.

Whenever the city of Cumming annexes into Forsyth County, it uses the 100 percent method.

In addition, Commissioner Brian Tam said the county has invested a lot of money into the proposed Taubman mall planned for that area.

"We've already put money on the ground," Tam said. "The infrastructure is there."

In exchange for the properties, Belle Isle said the city would help pay $6.8 million for the Ga. 400 interchange with McGinnis Ferry Road.

The $44 million project needs a 25 percent local match that Alpharetta officials said they would provide for the annexation.

Currently, there are about 600 technology companies in the city of Alpharetta – as compared to 300 in the city of Atlanta.

Alpharetta bills itself as the "Technology City of the South," Belle Isle said.

The Alpharetta Technology Commission that was started last year, made up of several of its biggest companies, has looked at a more regional role.

There are about 300 technology companies that focus on manufacturing and industrial applications located within Forsyth County.

"We're looking at trying to help the region, more than just Alpharetta," Belle Isle said. "It's all one technology community that doesn't neatly sit in a city's borders. We're looking to help the region flourish."

Managing Editor, Appen Media.
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