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City of South Fulton, Georgia
Renaissance, Georgia
Flag of City of South Fulton, Georgia
Official seal of City of South Fulton, Georgia
Official logo of City of South Fulton, Georgia
Location in Fulton County and the state of Georgia
Location in Fulton County and the state of Georgia
South Fulton is located in Metro Atlanta
South Fulton
South Fulton
Location of South Fulton in Metro Atlanta
Coordinates: 33°35′33″N 84°40′23″W / 33.5925899°N 84.6729381°W / 33.5925899; -84.6729381
CountryUnited States
StateGeorgia
CountyFulton
Government
 • MayorKhalid Kamau (D)[1]
Area
 • Total86.25 sq mi (223.40 km2)
 • Land85.22 sq mi (220.71 km2)
 • Water1.04 sq mi (2.69 km2)
Elevation797 ft (243 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total107,436
 • Rank293rd in the United States
8th in Georgia
 • Density1,260.75/sq mi (486.78/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
FIPS code13-72122
GNIS feature ID2786574[3]
Websitewww.cityofsouthfultonga.gov

The City of South Fulton is in Fulton County, Georgia, United States, in the Atlanta metropolitan area. It was incorporated in 2017 from parts of southwest Fulton County and includes the communities of Red Oak, Cooks Crossing, Stonewall, Fife, Ben Hill, Sandtown, Cliftondale, Ono, Cedar Grove, Boat Rock/Dry Pond, Maude, Lester, Enon, Welcome All, Peters Woods, and part of Campbellton.[4] As of 2020, it had a population of 107,436, making it the state's eighth-largest city in population.[5] Also as of 2020, South Fulton has the highest African-American percentage of any U.S. city over 100,000, surpassing highly African-American cities such as Detroit and Jackson.[6]

History[edit]

The 2016 Georgia General Assembly passed bill HB514 to incorporate South Fulton. Governor Nathan Deal signed the bill into law on April 29, 2016. On November 8, 59% of the citizens of what would become South Fulton voted to charter the city. This referendum was part of a “cityhood movement” in the Atlanta metropolitan area that began in 2005 with the incorporation of Sandy Springs on the north side of Atlanta. Several other communities in Fulton voted to incorporate in 2007.[7]

With the passage of the South Fulton referendum in 2016, Fulton County became the first county in Georgia with no unincorporated residential areas.[8] As a result, in 2017 Fulton County also became the first county in Georgia to cease providing municipal services such as fire, police, zoning, and code enforcement.[9] Many former Fulton County personnel and facilities were transferred to the City of South Fulton.[10]

On March 21, 2017, South Fulton held elections for mayor and city council, followed by runoff elections before incorporation took effect on May 1.[11]

The first mayor of South Fulton was Bill Edwards, who previously served on the Fulton County Board of Commissioners from 2000 to 2014.[12] His term expired on December 31, 2021.[13]

In November 2017, after a one-year waiting period mandated by state law, the city council selected Renaissance as the new name for the city after allowing residents to suggest names. More than 200 names were submitted, and the list was pared to 20, including Campbellton (a historical town now partly within the city), Atlanta Heights, Wolf Creek and retaining South Fulton.[14] Following a three-week public notice period and two regular public meetings, which are required to amend the city charter,[15] the city council approved the name change in December 2017. However, Mayor Edwards vetoed the name change on December 18, citing several reasons, including contracts and some public opposition.[16]

In its first eight months, South Fulton created its infrastructure, navigated financial challenges and began a transition from Fulton County services.[citation needed]

Government[edit]

The City of South Fulton operates as a weak mayor form of government. According to the National League of Cities, a weak mayor government includes a powerful council with both legislative and executive authority. The mayor is not truly the chief executive, with limited power. The council can prevent the mayor from effectively supervising city administration.[17] South Fulton's mayor votes only in case of a tie council vote. khalid kamau was elected Mayor of South Fulton in 2021.[18]

The council is primarily responsible for creating and adopting policy via ordinances, resolutions, and amendments. Council members also approve proposed projects, services, events, and purchases above a certain dollar amount. South Fulton's city manager, who reports to the council, manages the city's day-to-day operations and supervises department heads.

Today the city operates with the following departments: City Clerk; City Manager; Public Affairs; Code Enforcement; Community Development; Economic Development (Destination South Fulton); Finance; Fire; Human Resources; Information Technology; Legal; Municipal Court; Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs; Police and Public Works. All other services – including utilities, sanitation, elections, public health and others – are managed by Fulton County, or private providers. All public schools within the city are managed by Fulton County Schools.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
2020107,436
2021 (est.)108,5751.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[19]
2020[20]

South Fulton was first listed in the 2020 U.S. Census.

South Fulton city, Georgia – Racial and ethnic composition
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos may be of any race.
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2020[20] % 2020
White alone (NH) 3,402 3.17%
Black or African American alone (NH) 96,463 89.79%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 148 0.14%
Asian alone (NH) 459 0.43%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 33 0.03%
Other race alone (NH) 729 0.68%
Mixed race or Multiracial (NH) 2,674 2.49%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 3,528 3.28%
Total 107,436 100.00%

Map[edit]

Controversies[edit]

In 2022, the City Council voted no confidence against Mayor Khalid Kamau after he called the city's police chief corrupt.[21] The police chief was accused of retaliating against officers and other city officials for reporting wrongdoings of a female officer whom he had a long work history with. The female officer in question resigned due to the amount of serious complaints and allegations made against her.[22]

In 2023, Mayor Khalid Kamau was arrested for trespassing and burglary. He was released on a $11,000 bond.[23][24]

Also in 2023, 1,600 City of South Fulton residents signed a petition to de-annex from the city and return to Unincorporated Fulton County primarily due to feeling the city is highly unorganized and dysfunctional.[25] The city has made local and national news for challenges surrounding trash collection services, the arrest of Mayor Khalid Kamau after he was accused of trespassing, and the city improperly issuing business licenses. City officials can choose to deny or approve the de-annexing request but the city would not have veto powers, unless it can show how de-annexing is detrimental to residents.[26][22]

And also in 2023, several City of South Fulton residents filed a federal lawsuit against city officials for mismanagement of public funds, abuse of power, and irregular hiring practices. The plaintiffs want better visibility and accountability from city leaders.[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Profile of South Fulton mayor Khalid Kamau, governing.com. Accessed June 30, 2023.
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  3. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: South Fulton, Georgia
  4. ^ VICE News (September 7, 2018), Eight Black Women Run This City's Entire Justice System (HBO), archived from the original on December 21, 2021, retrieved September 7, 2018
  5. ^ "QuickFacts: South Fulton city, Georgia". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  6. ^ "What Will Become of 'America's Blackest City'?". POLITICO. September 16, 2022. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  7. ^ Sam Rosen (April 2017). "Atlanta's Controversial 'Cityhood' Movement". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  8. ^ Dave Williams (October 7, 2016). "Fulton could be first fully incorporated county in Georgia". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  9. ^ Arielle Kass (July 3, 2017). "Fulton County first in Georgia to relinquish city services". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  10. ^ Kass, Arielle. "Fulton County first in Georgia to relinquish city services". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. ISSN 1539-7459. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  11. ^ "South Fulton Cityhood Transition: Top 10 FAQs" (PDF). Fultoncountyga.gov. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  12. ^ "Meet the Mayor". South Fulton, GA. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  13. ^ Arielle Kass (December 17, 2019). "South Fulton Mayor Bill Edwards investigated in development deal". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved February 15, 2020. Edwards' term expired Dec. 31, 2021.
  14. ^ Kahn, Michael (December 20, 2017). "The City of South Fulton/Renaissance is having an identity crisis". Curbed Atlanta. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  15. ^ Cochran, Noreen (November 13, 2017). "South Fulton votes to become Renaissance, Georgia". Mdjonline.com. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  16. ^ "South Fulton mayor vetos town changing name to 'Renaissance'". Fox5atlanta.com. December 19, 2017. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  17. ^ "Cities 101 — Mayoral Powers". National League of Cities. December 13, 2016. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  18. ^ Correct spelling of name of South Fulton mayor, khalid kamau, governing.com. Accessed June 30, 2023.
  19. ^ "Decennial Census of Population and Housing by Decade". United States Census Bureau.
  20. ^ a b "P2: Hispanic or Latino, and Not Hispanic or Latino by Race – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - South Fulton city, Georgia". United States Census Bureau.
  21. ^ "Well-respected metro police chief said mayor's accusation of wrongdoing were 'deeply hurtful'". WSB-TV Channel 2 - Atlanta. July 23, 2022. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  22. ^ a b 'You're complicit' | Some South Fulton residents want their entire city staff fired, retrieved December 19, 2023
  23. ^ DiRienzo, Rob (July 8, 2023). "South Fulton mayor released after arrest, report details incident that led to charges". FOX 5 Atlanta. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  24. ^ "City of South Fulton mayor released on bond after arrest". WSB-TV Channel 2 - Atlanta. July 16, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  25. ^ Online petition to deannex the City of South Fulton has more than 700 signatures, retrieved December 19, 2023
  26. ^ "'Let us go': South Fulton homeowners discuss efforts to de-annex from city". WSB-TV Channel 2 - Atlanta. October 19, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  27. ^ City of South Fulton served with federal lawsuit, retrieved December 19, 2023

External links[edit]