FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — The Fulton County Commission adopted a resolution Aug. 7 that will give cities a reprieve in costs of municipal elections.
The resolution, put forward by Commissioner Liz Hausmann and co-sponsored by Commissioner Bob Ellis, has the county absorb more of the cost for the elections.
It takes away the 10 percent administration fee and overhead costs that cities were to be charged, and instead sets a rate of $2.96 per registered voter for the initial election and $2.46 per voter in a run-off.
“Basically, this is just the cost for this year’s actual election that does not include any of our normal operating costs for the department that was included in some of the original estimates,” Hausmann said.
The resolution will only impact this year’s municipal elections and will be reevaluated next year when the state adopts new election equipment.
Earlier this summer, many cities had sticker shock when they saw what Fulton County would be charging for the administration of the municipal election.
In Alpharetta, the cost was to be $202,000, almost twice the $124,000 charged in 2017. In Roswell and Johns Creek, the estimates were closer to $500,000.
The apparent reason many cities were facing higher bills this year was because the City of Atlanta had no seats up for election and the county usually spreads out the expense to cities based on their population.
About a week after the original estimates were sent out, the county went back to the cities with updated quotes, lowering the cost of elections by limiting early voting. Still, some city officials were upset with the payment scheme.
“I continue to be disappointed in the way Fulton County treats its cities as it relates to this,” Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker said Aug. 5. “I think it is entirely punitive to have the citizens pay these kind of amounts and still pay the same general fund amount to Fulton County, when all the other counties in the area charge the equivalent of an administrative fee to run a November off-year election.”
Bodker said he supported Hausmann’s proposal and urged other city officials to do the same.
The Fulton resolution passed 5-1, with Commissioner Marvin Arrington opposed.
“I was getting pushback from the southern cities about the bill being exorbitant,” Arrington said. “I’m in support of taking some measures to reduce it, but I would rather have it uniform than to try to say we’re going to do this in odd years, and this in even years.”