Kemp signs bill to incorporate Mulberry, city could be on May ballot

By Caleb Hutchins Assistant News Director
Posted 6:00PM on Tuesday 13th February 2024 ( 4 months ago )

Residents of northeast Gwinnett County will vote this calendar year on the potential creation of a new city.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 333 Tuesday, which allows residents to vote on the incorporation of the city of Mulberry. The bill cleared both the State Senate and House earlier this month.

In an interview last week with WDUN, Georgia House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration (R-Auburn) said the timing of the governor's signature could dictate when the measure would go on the ballot. He said it could be as early as May.

"If the governor signs the bill (this week), then it would be on the May primary ballot," Efstration said. "If it is passed on the May ballot, then council members would actually be elected on the November ballot this year."

The proposed city would consist of an area stretching from the Hall County line and the town of Braselton to nearly the city of Dacula.

Proponents of the city's creation, including Efstration and State Senator Clint Dixon (R-Buford) say it would give residents more control over their community.

“The idea here is that local government that's closest to the people can be most responsive,” Efstration said at a presentation to the community in November 2023. “If a council member has a constituency of less than 10,000 residents, there's a chance for you to easily get in touch with that council member to express your concerns or your support for any proposal, and for the process to be streamlined. In many ways, this will take away the responsibility that county government currently has in that area.”

Gwinnett County commissioners and some members of the Gwinnett legislative delegation have expressed opposition to the push to create Mulberry, however. One of the main issues they have cited is the potential financial impact on the rest of the county.

"What I said, and what my folks said, was as long as it didn't affect me, we didn't give a hoot...But after getting what we received from (Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson) is going to affect the rest of the citizens of Gwinnett County," State Representative Dewey McClain (D-Lawrenceville) said during a house committee hearing last week. "My folks are concerned that they don't want to pay for someone else's concerns...Where's (fire service) going to come from? They're still going to get it from Gwinnett. Where's water and sewer going to come from? It's going to come from Gwinnett County."

A map of the proposed city of Mulberry in northeast Gwinnett County

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