“We find that the new city of South Fulton is fiscally feasible,” they said.
Based on Fulton County’s 2012 figures for its south Fulton special services district, in which expenditures were $42.6 million against $44.4 million in revenue, the associates developed several balance sheet scenarios.
In a calculation adding in local option sales tax and utility franchise fees, the associates predicted nearly $65 million in revenue and $47.5 million in expenses, leaving a surplus of $17.4 million.
“The new city of South Fulton would appear to have enough revenue to be viable unless its spending increased to reflect the levels present in the higher-spending cities in Fulton County,” they said. “Note as a city, the residents of the city of South Fulton would have the flexibility to determine the level of services and the necessary revenue mix to pay for that service level.”
Matthews co-authored a similar study with Robert Eger in 2007.
“Several relevant demographic and economic changes have occurred since the last report in 2007,” Matthews and Bluestone said in the 2014 document. “First, the south Fulton area has practically doubled in population. Second, the area has been hit particularly hard by the housing bust, brought on the recession in 2008. Property assessments have decline substantially.”
Those changes led to the economists to be cautionary.
“When looking at households on public assistance, the city of South Fulton has a higher percentage than Fulton County and a greater share of the city of South Fulton households are below the poverty level,” they said. “This could increase costs to the city of South Fulton since it may have to provide more community development services necessary to assist impoverished households.”