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    Lawsuit wants to block creating City of Mulberry in Gwinnett County

    By Matt Johnson,

    2024-05-02
    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4Q2i42_0skxsyRI00

    A Gwinnett County man filed a lawsuit to try and block an attempt to create a new city in Gwinnett County called Mulberry, even though voters have already started to vote on the proposal.

    “I believe they’re being misled,” said Stephen Hughes, who lives within the proposed city limits and filed the lawsuit. “I’m not against letting the voters decide. What I am for is letting the voters decide on a constitutional charter.”

    Supporters for the city are promising no city taxes along with a better way to have local control of planning and zoning decisions in the northeastern Gwinnett County region. Opponents have concerns that city taxes may eventually be implemented at some point in the future.

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    Hughes told Channel 2 Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Matt Johnson he never believed promises of no new taxes.

    “I’m not in favor of having another layer of government, more taxes, and not getting anything different than I’m already getting,” said Hughes.

    The lawsuit cites a previous Georgia Supreme Court decision, Peacock v. Georgia Municipal Association, that argues the legislature can regulate every city’s ability to tax but it cannot single out one city at a time.

    Hughes believes the city charter would ultimately be amended to include city property taxes.

    “If many people, if they knew that, if they understood that, many would not vote for the referendum,” said Hughes.

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    City supporter and House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration says lawmakers reviewed the same arguments before they approved the Mulberry bill in February.

    “We debated this issue in the State Capital,” he said. “It’s already been thoroughly vetted.”

    He questions whether Hughes is working with outside groups or developers to block the will of the voters.

    “The opposition here knows that it’s very popular, that it’s going to pass on the ballot, and they want to take it off the ballot,” said Efstration.

    Hughes says he researched the issue and reached out to attorney Allen Lightcap himself for representation on the lawsuit.

    “These are people in the community that don’t want a city that are funding it,” said Hughes.

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