UPDATE: The Georgia Senate on Wednesday afternoon approved legislation to allow Avondale Estates and Decatur to annex a strip of unincorporated commercial land between the two towns, all but assuring the annexation will become a reality.
The two bills next go to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature. Typically, the governor sets aside a day to sign all pieces of local legislation and rarely declines to give his approval.
David Milliron, a former Avondale Estates commissioner and annexation advocate, said the annexation has been "14 years in the making."
The annexation is expected to become effective on the governor's signature.
Milliron said the cities are obligated to immediately begin performing services such as police protection for the businesses.
THE PREVIOUS STORY THAT RAN MARCH 23: Legislation to annex unincorporated land between Avondale and Decatur has made a major advancement.
Seven of eight state senators representing DeKalb County have signed the local legislation. Enough House members had already signed the bills to ensure passage in the legislature.
David Milliron, a former Avondale Estates Commission member who supports the annexation, reported on the Avondale Estates City Happenings Facebook page Thursday,
Today, Senators Gloria Butler, Steve Henson and Ronald B. Ramsey Sr. all signed onto the annexation bills. That is six of the seven Senators within the DeKalb Delegation ... and we only needed four to push the issue to a vote!!! This is huge news and now allows the twin bills to be put forth on the consent agenda for a vote before the Senate ...
, saying they'd have to pay more in taxes but would not receive any more services if they became part of the city.
State Reps. Stephanie Benfield and Karla Drenner submitted bills that would allow Decatur to annex commercial parts of the land along College Avenue up to Sams Crossing.
Avondale Estates could annex the land up to Sams Crossing on its side of the road. The two cities would then share a common border.
Drenner said in an email the legislation still has to go to through a committee and a floor vote before Gov. Nathan Deal has the opportunity to sign the bills.
No residential area will be annexed. Because only commercial property would be affected, the annexation can legally be approved through the legislature.
Avondale Estates leaders have tried for years to annex the land, saying they want to improve the appearance of that area to make an attractive gateway to the city.
But opponents say the cities just want the tax revenue.