Buckhead fights to form own Cityhood

The King and Queen buildings in Atlanta's Buckhead. Photo by Trent Legaspi | The Signal

Many relationships have suffered throughout the pandemic, and Atlanta is no exception. 

Over the last couple of years, the rise in crime led to Buckhead filing for a divorce from the city. The battle to annex Buckhead or preserve Atlanta’s city limits has continued for over a year. 

There has been speculation that this push from Bill White, the head chairman and CEO of the Buckhead City Committee, is based mainly on race. 

White has countered, saying it has nothing to do with race, but instead about “80,000 legally registered voters who want and who deserve to vote this year.” 

However, critics aren’t so sure when Atlanta’s population is roughly 50% African American, and Buckhead is approximately 77% white population.

Buckhead is home to about 20% of Atlanta’s population but accounts for 40% of the city’s budget. Those in favor of Buckhead Cityhood argue they are not receiving their fair share of their pay.

“We are focused on fighting crime, getting our garbage picked up, paying less taxes,”Bill White said.

Mayor Andre Dickens and his cabinet have been working tirelessly in Buckhead to clean the streets and to show that Atlanta is actively working to make a cleaner, safer city.

“Every person out here in Buckhead sees me out here working day and night with our team,” Dickens said. 

“I’m at roll call. I’m out here laying it on the line for our police force, our firefighters, and all of our workers so that our citizens of Atlanta know that this mayor is hands-on and attentive to our needs, and I think Buckhead sees that and they want to stay.” Dickens said. 

“The business community came out full force last week saying that we want to stay in Atlanta and work together with this administration.”

Many large businesses in Buckhead argue all the costs associated with switching to a new city will be costly and unnecessary. And the financial toll on Atlanta would be catastrophic if Buckhead left. Many citizens say that Atlanta needs to unite now more than ever to solve.

“What Buckhead is doing is like taking their ball and going home,” said Jason Duncan, Atlanta Attorney who works at a firm near Buckhead.

“It’s selfish, and it doesn’t fix anything.”

Currently, the state legislature has refused to hear the proposal for Buckhead to have its city. So, for now, it will not be moving forward.

Still, Buckhead cityhood leaders are not taking the news lying down. White has urged citizens to leave Pro-Buckhead City yard signs and call their legislative leaders.

“We will never give up,” said White in a press conference this week. “We will never give in to the city of Atlanta and their coordinated efforts to deny us our right to vote on cityhood.”

However, Mayor Dickens, who is just a little over a month into his first term, won’t back down on this either. He has made fixing the problems in Buckhead one of the main things to tackle in his first 100-day plan.

“Buckhead cityhood is not going to happen on my watch,” Dickens said. “I hope it never happens. The city of Atlanta needs to be one city with one bright future.”