The House legislation introduced by State Rep. Tom Rice that called for 131 businesses previously identified as part of the new city of Peachtree Corners to be annexed into Berkeley Lake has been returned by the Senate for amendments.
On Monday, H.B. 956 was on the calendar to be reviewed and possibly approved by the Senate Committee on State and Local Governmental Operations (SLGO). However, according to records reviewed online, Senator David Shafer, who represents Duluth and Berkeley Lake, has requested amendments to the current bill.
"Senator Shafer has amended the bill," explained Rice in an email. "It will pass the Senate in amended form. It must come back to the House for my agreement."
The House bill was favored by Berkeley Lake leaders, who are seeking to add businesses to the city's tax base which is primarily made up of residences. The additional tax revenue would help deversify the tax base, explained the city's mayor, Lois Salter.
However, the bill was hotly debated by voters in Peachtree Corners, who claimed that property was moving out of the new city's borders without input from its citizens.
A flurry of phone calls and emails over the past few weeks called for Rice and Shafer to stop the bill and allow Peachtree Corners to work directly with Berkeley Lake once its City Council is seated.
As it stands now, H.B. 956 did not pass the Senate but was returned by Shafer, who has requested the bill be amended. At least one of the businesses previously slated to be a part of Berkeley Lake has requested to be de-annexed.
There are only a few days before the 2012 state legislative session ends. Patch will be following the bill and will provide an update on the status.