What exactly is annexation? It is the process by which an unincorporated part of a county becomes part of a city. The Georgia Municipal Association provides guidance on what the process looks like in our state. Their conclusion is that "Georgia's annexation laws work well. In the final analysis, the value of annexation is that it empowers people to choose the government that will provide them with the highest level of municipal services and be responsive to their needs."
The content below comes directly from their publication, Growing Cities, Growing Georgia, an analysis of annexation in Georgia. Additional notes about the process for this particular annexation are added in italics for context.
Annexation Law in Georgia
There are five methods of annexation in Georgia:
Resolution and Referendum Method
Annexations by the General Assembly through local legislation
Annexation of unincorporated islands totally surrounded by a city
This proposed annexation uses the fourth method, annexation by the General Assembly through local legislation. First, a bill will go to the Georgia General Assembly this spring, where they will vote on whether or not to allow the proposed annexation to go to a vote. If they approve of holding a vote, there will be a referendum in November 2019 and voters within the proposed annexation area will decide if they want to join the City of Norcross.
Benefits of Annexation
There are numerous reasons why property owners and citizens desire to have their property added to the city limits:
Increased Levels of Service
Many residents are interested in obtaining higher levels of government services than are provided in an unincorporated area.
Better ISO ratings and consequently lower homeowner's insurance rates because of the enhanced response times that municipal fire departments can offer
Higher police officer to resident ratio and smaller patrolling areas
Municipal water service at rates that are more cost efficient for homeowners than paying to pump well water
Many residents wish to take advantage of the efforts that cities have made to create more livable and prosperous communities.
Active downtowns, a strong sense of community, and professional planning
Service coordination and infrastructure improvements like sidewalks and parks
Annexation often results in increased property value
More Responsive Local Government
Many residents enjoy having access to a smaller and more responsive local government. In the metro Atlanta area, where counties contain hundreds of thousands of residents, being able to rely on a Mayor and Council that represent only a few thousand people allows for decision making that respects the needs of individuals and individual neighborhoods.
Annexation Does Not Result in Revenue Loss for Counties
Counties do not "lose" property once it is annexed
Counties continue to collect revenue on property that is annexed
Counties are freed from the costs associated with providing services that will be provided by the city
Annexation Does Not Increase Growth Pressures
Counties can require that dispute resolution be entered into between the city and county where the county can substantiate that proposed changes in land use will adversely impact the county.
In this case, the City of Norcross intends to retain the current zoning and future land use designations for all parcels.
Annexations Do Not Cause Service Delivery Issues
Cities and counties must enter into service delivery strategy agreements in order to work out issues with service duplication
These agreements can accommodate service delivery changes because of annexation
Counties can raise service delivery concerns with cities about the zoning of recently annexed property
Almost all cities and counties have intergovernmental and mutual aid agreements in place that clearly establish respective roles for service delivery