The Need for a New County Is Evident

For all practical purposes, Alpharetta already is a separate county. Nothing left to do but change the names on the document.

I have a new job in midtown.  Each morning I merge onto GA 400 at 5:30 a.m. and leave midtown at 3:00 p.m.  I'm the lucky one with my work hours because I get to enjoy a hassle free commute.  Indeed, Georgia 400, without traffic, is one of the easiest ways to get into midtown.

And yet, there remains a vast divide between Alpharetta and midtown and certainly Alpharetta and downtown.  I never fail to be amused when the, eh-hum, younger people I work with, who all seem to live in midtown, reference Alpharetta as if it were Athens, or Macon or some other distant location.  They know absolutely nothing about it.  The other day someone said, “So, what is there to DO in Alpharetta?” – like the definition for fun times is intrinsically different for those of us living way out in Alpharetta.

On another day, someone asked if I had tried this or that restaurant, all of them in town, of course.  “No, to that one.”  I said.   “Haven’t even heard of this one.”  She exclaimed, “But these are places with world-renowned chefs!”  I felt so, so, backwards, so behind the times.  I'm beginning to get a residential location complex.  

Fact is, no matter if you’re a midtowner looking out towards Alpharetta, or an Alpharettan looking in at town, we’re in two different, shall we say, territories.

Which is one reason it feels so odd, for example, to be called into jury duty to the Fulton County Superior Court in downtown Atlanta.

Which brings me to this.  The county of Milton, which existed from 1857 until 1932, and which encompassed my current territory of Alpharetta, was created “to allow a man to get to the court house in one day’s ride."  Or at least said Ms. JoAnn de la Moriniere, former president of the Old Milton County, Georgia Historical and Genealogical Society.  

And this strikes me as downright ironic because there is certainly no metaphorical “one day’s ride” to the courthouse from Alpharetta today.  We are removed, distant, un-connected. 

What’s really interesting to me though, is that it works both ways.  Not only am I completely out of touch with the world of Fulton Countians in mid to downtown, but they are out of touch with my world in Alpharetta. 

The Chattahoochee River may or may not ever be a dividing line again, but you can bet there is one.  And it should be re-drawn.  

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Sherrill Moss July 08, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Please help me understand how we have different needs? I think our needs are the same. When you combine the populations of the proposed areas, the total would not represent a "Smaller and Better" county. Nor would the Geography be significantly “Smaller and Better.” Are not all the needs and wants of everyone the same? Such as good schools, safety, quality of life? We would be better served to work together to improve the area's traffic by voting yes for the TSPLOST on July 31, 2012. That will truly benefit all metro area residents and improve everyone’s quality of life.
Travis Allen July 08, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Great, now you want to turn it into a TSPLOST argument...no thanks, I'll pass. I'm not in agreement with Julie's argument for a new county, but I do feel there are plenty of reasons why a new county would make sense from Sandy Springs and up.
Julie Hollingsworth Hogg July 08, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Different needs because Alpharetta, Milton, Johns Creek, etc. are not the same coordinate points on the map as East Point, Buckhead, Ansley Park, etc. Different logistical needs. UPS says is best, "Logistics makes the world work better." My blog was only anecdotal observations: it's really about why it matters and has always mattered, "to get to the courthouse in a day's ride." - like back in 1857. The proverbial courthouse square has to be accessible to the local population. As Atlanta metro becomes denser and denser with humans, the governance must evolve and change to effectively govern.
Brian Davis July 08, 2012 at 10:21 PM
A couple things: Milton County sounds great . . . but creating a county isn't easy. Have to get 2/3rds in both houses of the legislature and then it must pass a Statewide referendum. Splitting the county would not free North Fulton residents from their financial obligations to MARTA and Grady. I think all the proponents of Milton County should instead focus their efforts on reforming Fulton. Ideas include: Eliminating one of the at-large commissioners and replacing it with a new district in North Fulton, raising the county homestead exemption, reforming Fulton's delivery of services. All of this can be done- Fulton County now delivers municipal like services to a very small part of the county- unincorporated South Fulton. County services like courts, jail, public health, some transportation, senior services, water and sewer, indigent services, economic development can be performed more efficiently through reform.
Ellen Murphy July 09, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Only reason I'd like there to be a Milton County, is to be unassociated from all the bad of Fulton County. Every time I hear crime in 'Fulton County' I jump. Creating a line in the sand would document and project how much safer we are up here, and encourage people and companies to relocate to North Atlanta areas.


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