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New Mayor Pushes Back Against Buckhead Efforts To Secede From Atlanta

BUCKHEAD, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- New Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens spoke against the idea of a separate Buckhead city during his inaugural address as the Atlanta City Council prepares to create a new task force to address crime in that part of the city.

Buckhead City Committee Chairman and CEO Bill White said that the new year brings Buckhead closer to becoming its own city.

"We have two bills that are gonna be hopefully sailing through the Georgia Legislature," he said.

An uptick in crime has been one of the driving forces behind the move toward the Buckhead community's effort to secede from the city of Atlanta. The Committee for a United Atlanta has opposed the move, and Dickens shared his stance during his inaugural speech.

"We don't need separate cities. We must be one city with one bright future," Dickens said during the address. He also announced plans to hire and train 250 new officers for the Atlanta police force.

On the other hand, White is concerned about how the new Dickens administration will go about recruiting what he called "quality police officer candidates." He went on to suggest that the police department could be lowering its standards as part of its effort.

"There is talk now, that to fulfill his (Dickens) campaign pledge, he's instructed APD to potentially lower the standards," White said.

When asked about it, an Atlanta city spokesperson declined to comment on White's suggestion.

Atlanta District 8 City Councilperson Mary Norwood has proposed a resolution that will establish a Buckhead public safety task force of law enforcement officers and businesses.

"They will form a working group to come up very quickly with recommendations for safety," Norwood said.

She introduced her resolution during the city council's first meeting of the new year.

"I want to do this very quickly," Norwood said. "I am looking at 60-to-90 days after hopefully receiving approval by the City Council."

On the question of Buckhead cityhood, Norwood remains neutral.

"I have not taken a position, and I'm not going to," she said.

Meanwhile, Bill White and other Buckhead city proponents are already making plans for a clean break from the city of Atlanta.

"I look very forward to working with Andre Dickens and his team to make a smooth transition to Buckhead City," White said.

The establishment of a separate Buckhead city, however, would have to be first approved by the state legislature during the upcoming session and signed by the governor before it would potentially go before voters in November.

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