HB 23 - Municipal charter commissions; create

First Reader Summary

A BILL to amend Chapter 31 of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to incorporation of municipalities, so as to provide for legislative findings and authority; to provide for the creation of municipal charter commissions; and for other purposes.

Felton, Dorothy (43rd) Trense, Sharon (44th) Smith, Paul E (12th)
Dixon, Harry D (168th) Irvin, Robert A (45th) Davis, J. Max (60th)
Status Summary HC: SPCA SC: LA: 02/26/98 H - Favorably Reported
Page Numbers - 1/ 2/ 3/ 4/ 5/ 6
Code Sections - 36-31-6
House Action Senate
1/31/97 Read 1st Time
2/3/97 Read 2nd Time
2/26* Favorably Reported
3/28/97 Recommitted

HB 23                                              LC 11 9099 
                        A BILL TO BE ENTITLED 
                               AN ACT 
  1- 1  To amend Chapter 31 of Title 36 of the Official Code of 
  1- 2  Georgia Annotated, relating to incorporation of 
  1- 3  municipalities, so as to provide for legislative findings 
  1- 4  and authority; to provide for the creation of municipal 
  1- 5  charter commissions; to provide for definitions; to provide 
  1- 6  for petitions and the validation and invalidation thereof; 
  1- 7  to provide for the composition of the commissions and their 
  1- 8  organization, meetings, compensation, expenses, allowances, 
  1- 9  staffing, funding, duties, and powers; to provide for 
  1-10  reports, incorporations of municipalities, and special 
  1-11  elections relating thereto; to provide for amendments of 
  1-12  charters and applicability of laws relating thereto; to 
  1-13  provide for exemptions from certain local laws; to retain 
  1-14  existing incorporation methods; to provide an effective 
  1-15  date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. 
  1-17                           SECTION 1. 
  1-18  Chapter 31 of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia 
  1-19  Annotated, relating to incorporation of municipalities, is 
  1-20  amended by adding at the end the following Code section: 
  1-21    "36-31-6. 
  1-22    (a) The General Assembly finds that certain populated 
  1-23    areas within the most densely inhabited counties in this 
  1-24    state require more intensive governmental services and 
  1-25    control over those services and the taxation required to 
  1-26    fund them than is available from those counties.  The most 
  1-27    suitable method of achieving such goals is by municipal 
  1-28    incorporation of those areas wherein those areas which 
  1-29    desire such goals are given the power to establish a 
  1-30    municipal corporation for such areas without direct action 
  1-31    by the General Assembly.  The General Assembly further 
  1-32    finds that Article IX, Section II, Paragraph II of the 
  1-33    Constitution authorizes the General Assembly 'to delegate 
  1-34    its power so that matters pertaining to municipalities may 
  2- 1    be dealt with without the necessity of action by the 
  2- 2    General Assembly.'  Pursuant to this authority, the 
  2- 3    General Assembly thus delegates a portion of its 
  2- 4    legislative powers to create municipal corporations 
  2- 5    subject to the conditions of the Code section. 
  2- 6    (b) As used in this Code section, the term: 
  2- 7      (1) 'Affected county' means that county which includes 
  2- 8      all the area of a petitioning district. 
  2- 9      (2) 'Commission' means any municipal charter commission 
  2-10      established pursuant to this Code section. 
  2-11      (3) 'House district' means the geographical area 
  2-12      contained in any House of Representatives district under 
  2-13      Code Section 28-2-1. 
  2-14      (4) 'Petitioning district' means a House of 
  2-15      Representatives district which is wholly contained in a 
  2-16      single county and which House district includes only the 
  2-17      unincorporated area of that county and the  electors of 
  2-18      which House district have submitted a petition for the 
  2-19      creation of a commission which petition has been 
  2-20      determined to be valid under subsection (c) of this Code 
  2-21      section. 
  2-22      (5) 'Senate district' means the geographical area 
  2-23      contained in any Senate district under Code Section 
  2-24      28-2-2. 
  2-25    (c) The electors of a House district which is wholly 
  2-26    contained in a single county and which House district 
  2-27    includes only the unincorporated area of that county may 
  2-28    initiate the creation of a municipal charter commission 
  2-29    for that House district by filing a petition with the 
  2-30    election superintendent of that county if that petition 
  2-31    contains the signatures of at least 15 percent of the 
  2-32    electors who voted in the last general election in that 
  2-33    House district.  A period not to exceed 180 days shall be 
  2-34    allowed for circulation of such petition for the 
  2-35    collection of the required signatures.  The 180 day period 
  2-36    shall commence on the date that the petition is first 
  2-37    circulated for signatures.  The election superintendent 
  2-38    shall determine the validity of such petition within 60 
  2-39    days of its being filed with the election superintendent. 
  2-40    In the event the election superintendent determines that 
  2-41    the petition is valid, the election superintendent shall 
  2-42    notify the governing authority of the affected county, the 
  3- 1    members of the House of Representatives and Senate whose 
  3- 2    legislative districts contain any part of the petitioning 
  3- 3    district, and the members of the House of Representatives 
  3- 4    any part of whose House district abuts such petitioning 
  3- 5    district and which part is located in the affected county. 
  3- 6    In the event that the election superintendent determines 
  3- 7    that such petition was not valid, that superintendent 
  3- 8    shall cause to be published in explicit detail the reasons 
  3- 9    why such petition is not valid; provided, however, that in 
  3-10    any proceeding in which the validity of the petition is at 
  3-11    issue, the tribunal considering such issue shall not be 
  3-12    limited by the reasons assigned.  Such publication shall 
  3-13    be in the official organ of the county in the week 
  3-14    immediately following the date on which such petition is 
  3-15    declared to be not valid. 
  3-16    (d) Upon receiving a notification that a petition filed 
  3-17    with the election superintendent has been determined to be 
  3-18    valid under subsection (c) of this Code section, a charter 
  3-19    commission shall be constituted with the following 
  3-20    members: 
  3-21      (1) The member of the House of Representatives who 
  3-22      represents the petitioning district shall be a member of 
  3-23      the commission and shall appoint as additional 
  3-24      commission members two persons who reside in the 
  3-25      petitioning district; 
  3-26      (2) Each member of the House of Representatives any part 
  3-27      of whose House district is located in the affected 
  3-28      county and which House district abuts the petitioning 
  3-29      district shall be a member of the commission and shall 
  3-30      appoint as commission members two persons who reside in 
  3-31      the affected county and in the House district of the 
  3-32      appointing member of the House of Representatives; 
  3-33      (3) Each member of the Senate any part of whose Senate 
  3-34      district is located in the affected county and which 
  3-35      Senate district includes all or any part of the 
  3-36      petitioning district shall be a member of the commission 
  3-37      and shall appoint as commission members two persons who 
  3-38      reside in that county and in the Senate district of the 
  3-39      appointing Senator; and 
  3-40      (4) Three members shall be appointed by the governing 
  3-41      authority of the affected county, two of which 
  3-42      appointees shall reside in the petitioning district. 
  4- 1    (e) The member of the House of Representatives from the 
  4- 2    petitioning district shall designate as chairperson one of 
  4- 3    the members appointed by such House member, and the 
  4- 4    Senator any part of whose Senate district is located in 
  4- 5    the affected county and whose Senate district includes the 
  4- 6    largest portion of the petitioning district shall 
  4- 7    designate as vice chairperson one of the members appointed 
  4- 8    by such Senator.  The commission shall meet upon the call 
  4- 9    of the chairperson.  Members of the commission shall 
  4-10    receive no per diem, allowances, or expenses.  The Carl 
  4-11    Vinson Institute of State Government shall provide staff 
  4-12    support for the commission.  Unless private funds are 
  4-13    available to pay for such staff support, the costs thereof 
  4-14    shall be paid from county funds by the affected county. 
  4-15    (f) A majority of the commission shall constitute a quorum 
  4-16    and shall be authorized to transact the business of the 
  4-17    commission.  The commission may establish such bylaws as 
  4-18    necessary for its operation.  The affirmative vote of a 
  4-19    majority of the members of the commission shall be 
  4-20    required to approve any official action of the commission, 
  4-21    including but not limited to adoption of the commission's 
  4-22    bylaws or reports.  The commission shall study all issues 
  4-23    necessary to determine the feasibility of incorporating a 
  4-24    municipality within the petitioning district.  The 
  4-25    corporate limits of any such municipality may not extend 
  4-26    beyond the boundaries of any House district which abuts 
  4-27    the petitioning district or beyond the boundaries of the 
  4-28    affected county and shall not include any area located 
  4-29    within the corporate limits of another municipality.  The 
  4-30    commission shall study the tax base, service delivery 
  4-31    system, and sources of services for the petitioned for 
  4-32    municipality, the likely impact of such municipality upon 
  4-33    its residents and other governments within the affected 
  4-34    county, and all other matters necessary or desirable for 
  4-35    incorporating a municipality.  The commission shall issue 
  4-36    a preliminary report of its recommendations within six 
  4-37    months after its first meeting, shall hold at least three 
  4-38    public hearings within the 60 days after it issues that 
  4-39    report, and shall issue its final report within 60 days 
  4-40    after the last public hearing. 
  4-41    (g) If incorporation is recommended by the commission in 
  4-42    its final report, the commission shall so notify the 
  4-43    election superintendent of the affected county and provide 
  4-44    the election superintendent with a certified copy of the 
  4-45    final report within 15 days after issuance thereof.  That 
  5- 1    election superintendent shall call a special election to 
  5- 2    approve or disapprove the municipal incorporation as 
  5- 3    contained in the final report of the commission.  That 
  5- 4    election shall be conducted at the time of the next 
  5- 5    state-wide general primary or election which occurs at 
  5- 6    least 60 days after the issuance of the report.  The only 
  5- 7    electors eligible to vote in such special election shall 
  5- 8    be those persons otherwise eligible to vote in that 
  5- 9    primary or election who reside within the corporate 
  5-10    boundaries of the municipality recommended by the 
  5-11    commission as contained in the final report filed with the 
  5-12    election superintendent.  The expenses of such election 
  5-13    shall be borne by the affected county. 
  5-14    (h) If an incorporation recommendation in a final report 
  5-15    is approved in the special election under subsection (g) 
  5-16    of this Code section, the election superintendent shall 
  5-17    notify the affected county and that final report shall 
  5-18    constitute the municipal charter for the new municipality 
  5-19    named in the report.  That report shall become effective 
  5-20    as a charter at the time specified in the report but no 
  5-21    sooner than 180 days after such approval.  That final 
  5-22    report which thereby becomes a municipal charter shall be 
  5-23    subject to all general laws of this state relating to 
  5-24    municipalities, except Code Section 36-31-2, and the 
  5-25    boundary for the municipality established by that report 
  5-26    shall be subject to the conditions established by this 
  5-27    Code section.  That final report shall be filed with the 
  5-28    Secretary of State who shall provide for the publication 
  5-29    and distribution thereof. 
  5-30    (i) A municipality incorporated under this Code section 
  5-31    shall be subject to all general laws relating to 
  5-32    municipalities, except Code Section 36-31-2, and the 
  5-33    charter thereof may be amended by local Act of the General 
  5-34    Assembly or by home rule action by the municipality 
  5-35    subject to the Constitution and general laws of this 
  5-36    state.  The method of incorporating a municipality under 
  5-37    this Code section shall be in addition to any other method 
  5-38    for incorporating a municipality now authorized." 
  5-39                           SECTION 2. 
  5-40  Notwithstanding the provisions of Code Section 1-3-4.1, this 
  5-41  Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor 
  5-42  or upon its becoming law without such approval. 
  6- 1                           SECTION 3. 
  6- 2  All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are 
  6- 3  repealed. 

Clerk of the House
Robert E. Rivers, Jr., Clerk
Last Updated on 04/20/98