(Photo Credit: Maria Boynton/Entercom Atlanta)

Lawyers: Fed Courts Next Step In Stockbridge De-Annexation Fight

Lawsuit filed to stop November vote on split

Maria Boynton
May 18, 2018 - 11:28 am

Lawyers for the City of Stockbridge have filed a lawsuit in Henry County Superior Court. They are seeking an injunction on the November referendum to create a new city of Eagle's Landing.

Leading the legal team are former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers and Attorney Bob Wilson. They call the de-annexation of Stockbridge unconstitutional.

Bower says, "We're saying stop it right now." They want to halt, Bowers says, everything that might occur under two new state laws, recently signed by Governor Nathan Deal. One would allow for a vote to be held on November 6, but only for residents who would be a part of the new city. The other new law provides for the de-annexation of Stockbridge.

The action taken Thursday does not specifically address the $13 Million in bond debt repayments which officials say would have to be paid by the remaining residents of Stockbridge. According to Attorney Wilson, "If we do not prevail either in the state courts or over the federal issues, where we will file an action some weeks in the future, the citizens here that remain, if this is upheld, will be saddled with that debt that's there without that debt changing." Wilson says that could be a very dangerous precedent to set and it's going to have a destabilizing effect on a lot of other municipalities when they go to make bonds for projects that they want to do."I also think it's going to cost citizens in future municipalities more money to get loans to get bonds because the bonding companies and the financiers are going to want to protect themselves. They're going to want to protect that investment, and it's going to cost money."

Those in favor of splitting the city say they want to provide residents with services not currently available, including senior facilities, parks, and better retail.