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New City of DeKalb?

ATLANTA - It seems like new cities are constantly cropping up around metro Atlanta and now there's talk about turning one of its major counties into a city.

That would be unincorporated DeKalb County, which is gradually shrinking like Fulton County.

It would also become Georgia's largest city with 600,000 residents and 200 square miles.

Thursday morning a special Georgia Senate Committee, chaired by Sen. Gloria Butler (D-DeKalb) heard testimony about the proposal at the State Capitol.

She and others, who tend to favor cityhood for DeKalb County, point to new cities that eat away at the tax base, leaving a bigger burden for taxpayers in unincorporated DeKalb.

"People don't want to see that, because they don't want to have to pay more," Sen. Butler told 11Alive News.

"People are struggling these days and I think that would hurt them," she added.

The whole point is money.

Not only the tax dollars taken away from counties when new cities are created, but also those franchise fees you pay on your utility bills.

Cities can collect the fees, but counties can't.

A University of Georgia study suggests DeKalb County may be missing out on $30-million in franchise fee revenue. 

DeKalb also expects to lose about $40-million in fees and taxes to the new city of Brookhaven.

Some, like DeKalb County's only Republican Senator, say the county should simply shrink its budget with its size.

"Unfortunately, what DeKalb County has done, they've continued to keep the people on the payroll even though they no longer provide the services, whether it was police or whether it was parks, etc.," Sen. Fran Millar (R-DeKalb) told 11Alive News.

Before mostly Democratic unincorporated DeKalb County can become a city, the Republican controlled State Legislature would have to approve it.

While they've allowed several Republican heavy metro suburbs to create new cities the past few years, most don't expect lawmakers to approve the same for DeKalb any time soon.