Buckhead divorces the city of Atlanta 


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A group of influential individuals recently made a proposition to separate the City of Atlanta and the district of Buckhead. Reasons for this desired secession include rising tax rates, high crime and the lack of power they possess over the community. While a handful of people located in Buckhead favor the controversial idea, a multitude of Atlanta residents heavily opposes it.

Erinn Gardner, Social Media editor

As of recently,  a group of Buckhead residents decided that they wish to separate from Atlanta and form their own city. Several Atlanta residents remain outraged by the contentious plan to split the upscale district, due to the arguments given to justify the idea. Buckhead committee CEO Bill White has resided in Atlanta for less than five years after previously living in New York as a wealthy businessman, which angers “ATLiens” (Atlanta natives) because his decisions and power will forever alter the dynamic of the Georgia city. 

“The residents of Buckhead believe we’re living in a war zone. Buckhead City will not ‘break up’ Atlanta. In fact, the opposite is true. Just as a dangerous and dying Buckhead signals the end of Atlanta’s reputation as a great city, a safe, strong, and prosperous Buckhead is essential to the perception of Atlanta as a great city,” White said.   

Although White commenced this controversial conversation, a handful of republican politicians, residents and shopowners in Buckhead currently vouch for his attempt to make this substantial change. Those in favor of the city’s division, also known as “Buckxit”, argue that the current surge in crime and taxation detrimentally affects them. However, Buckhead historically contains white upper-class neighborhoods, consequently resulting in higher tax rates. Additionally, the secession will possibly result in a financial crisis in the City of Atlanta due to higher tax rates in Buckhead, causing Atlanta’s budget to significantly decrease. Not only will Atlanta struggle economically, but Buckhead must pay for necessities to create a city infrastructure and pay pensions for city employees, which taxes alone will definitely not cover. 

 On the other hand, the Buckhead Coalition opposes Buckxit, commissioning a study into the negative impacts of a split. Buckxit claims that former mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms poorly managed Atlanta, proving it unresponsive and incapable of addressing the concerns of Buckhead. This separation not only creates a divide between social classes, but also diminishes Atlanta’s racial and social diversity. 

“Carving up the city of Atlanta would be a race to the bottom. Atlanta is known throughout the world as a city that comes together in times of need and that’s what we need to do today – come together, not split apart,” Buckhead Coalition spokesman Billy Linville said

Buckhead does not differ significantly from any other substantial Atlanta neighborhoods or communities such as Grant Park, Candler Park and West End, further proving that ultimately power and privilege explain the split. Although numerous suburbs of Atlanta exist, a division of a community within Atlanta’s city limits historically remains unheard of. 

“When you take Buckhead away from Atlanta, you’re starting a new bureaucracy, big government, I mean more government. It just makes no sense to me. You’ve got to start over [with] your police, fire, waste management, and building a new city hall. Instead of doing that, why not add to what we have. Crime is going to be wherever you are. You just can’t say, I’m going to do a new city, and there will be no crime. Yeah, the mall is and will still be in Buckhead, Phipps will still be in Buckhead, Lenox will still be in Buckhead, there will still be crime. To me, that’s not the answer,” Buckhead resident  Sonya Russell-Ofchus said. 

Another major consideration when creating a new city includes the school system, as well as employment within the school. According to White, Atlanta Public Schools (APS) will continue to serve Buckhead City because the law does not specifically state that APS should contain the same boundaries as the city. However, the reality of the situation does not comply with this statement because APS does not possess an obligation to collaborate with Buckhead City. Furthermore, the new city does not own any of the schools in Buckhead, meaning that they would need to buy out the schools if they desired to create a new school system. If they decide not to make this costly decision, the students will attend Fulton County schools by default

“My mom is an administrator at North Atlanta [High School,] which is owned by APS, so Buckhead [city] wouldn’t be able to use it as a school first and foremost. I also know that some of the people that attend North Atlanta live in Atlanta and not Buckhead, so that will definitely be a problem if the cities are separated. I just think the rich white people living there ultimately want to take control,” junior Jayla Roebuck said. 

On November 8, 2022, the ballots will open for all Atlanta residents to vote on the matter. Depending on the outcome of the votes, the City of Atlanta will change for the worse and the city will possess a substantial amount of financial loss.