City of Atlanta v. Mays
The Supreme Court of Georgia held that the City of Atlanta's annexation of five unincorporated areas did not become effective until the first day of the month following the month in which all of the requirements of annexations under state law had been met and not the date the mayor signed the annexation ordinances. The Court affirmed the trial court in holding that the annexations were invalid because the areas in question were already part of the new City of South Fulton. On April 16, 2016, Governor Deal signed a local act incorporating South Fulton. The local act called for a special election on November 8, 2016, for qualified voters in the area of the proposed city to decide whether or not the city should come into existence. On April 26, 2016, the City of Atlanta received petitions for annexation from five areas of unincorporated county seeking to be annexed into Atlanta. After going through the annexation process the Mayor of Atlanta signed four of the annexations on June 21, 2016, and the fifth on June 28, 2016.
On July 19, 2016, six individuals living in the proposed annexation areas filed suit challenging the annexations. On September 8, 2016, the trial court issued an order declaring the annexations null and void on the grounds that they were untimely because of the legislature's creation of the City of South Fulton. The City of Atlanta appealed and argued that the areas in question were made part of the City of Atlanta prior to July 1st and the date in the local act defining South Fulton's boundaries were merely directory and allowed for Atlanta's annexations. The Court held that the annexations did not become effective until July 1, 2016, at which point the local act was effective. The Court held that the annexation powers of cities is subordinate to the General Assembly's power to annex and incorporate and, thus, the local act would control over the local annexation.