The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has released a report addressing key issues facing Atlanta’s Buckhead community.
The report examines the primary concerns surrounding the relationship between Buckhead and the broader City of Atlanta in light of the recent effort to create a new, separate “Buckhead City.” As it highlights, some residents of Buckhead have expressed dissatisfaction with Atlanta’s governance, while the City of Atlanta has made some efforts to ameliorate these issues. The report focuses on four key issues: public safety, land use, taxation, and infrastructure.
One of the main concerns of Buckhead residents, and the one that originally catalyzed the cityhood movement, is public safety. Crime rates have caused unease among residents and business owners. The report highlights significant improvements in crime rates in 2022 but emphasizes the need to maintain these positive trends. Additionally, it discusses the opening of a new Georgia State Patrol post in Buckhead, near the Governor’s Mansion, as a sign of Georgia’s commitment to addressing public safety concerns.
Zoning changes in 2021 also sparked dissatisfaction among Buckhead residents, leading to a debate over land use that continued into 2023. The report delves into the ongoing tension between those advocating for greater density and those concerned about preserving the character of historic neighborhoods, exemplified by the approval of a “Special Interest District” in Buckhead’s Tuxedo Park.
Regarding taxation, Buckhead plays a vital role in contributing to Atlanta’s revenue, accounting for about 40% of the city’s total revenue and over half of its property tax revenue. The report discusses the tax contributions of Buckhead and questions raised about the return on taxes paid, especially in terms of city services.
Concerns about neglected infrastructure, such as potholes, outdated MARTA stations, and undermaintained parks, have also been voiced by Buckhead residents. The report provides insight into infrastructure-related projects and resource allocation.
The report emphasizes the importance of maintaining a fact-based and holistic discussion. It acknowledges the multifaceted nature of the debate and the need for informed discussions that consider both economic and non-economic aspects. It also highlights the importance of ensuring the well-being and prosperity of all residents, both within and outside of Buckhead.
“Buckhead is one of Atlanta’s, and therefore Georgia’s, most dynamic and influential communities,” said Kyle Wingfield, President and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. “The debate over its future, while seemingly settled for the moment, raises important public policy issues that transcend the cityhood question. We intend for this report to contribute an independent set of facts that can inform residents and other interested parties moving forward.”
The full report can be accessed here.