Unofficial Opinion 98-1
A municipal government may not create rules that make annexations effective prior to the time they are made effective by O.C.G.A. § 36-36-2.
You have requested my opinion in regard to state annexation statutes and their effect on local annexation laws. In particular, you have asked about the effective date of municipal annexations. It is my unofficial opinion that a municipal government may not create rules that make annexations effective prior to the time they are made effective by O.C.G.A. § 36-36-2.
The state statutes dealing with annexations are found in O.C.G.A. §§ 36-36-1 through 36-36-92. The procedures and requirements found in those Code provisions “shall apply to all annexations pursuant to [Title 36, Chapter 36] and to annexation by local Act of the General Assembly.” O.C.G.A. § 36-36-1. Section 36-36-37 provides for annexations by ordinance. Prior to July 1, 1996, “unless otherwise agreed by joint resolution of the county governing authority and the governing authority of the municipality annexing land,” all annexations became effective “on the last day of the calendar quarter during which such annexation occurred.” O.C.G.A. § 36-36-2(a) (pre-1996 version). The only exception to this rule involved effective dates for the purposes of school enrollment where an independent school system existed within a municipality. O.C.G.A. § 36-36-2(b) (pre-1996 version). Since July 1, 1996, under state law, annexations “become effective for ad valorem tax purposes on December 31 of the year during which such annexation occurred and for all other purposes . . . on the first day of the month following the month during which [certain requirements] have been met.” O.C.G.A. § 36-36-2(a). The same exception for school enrollment purposes still exists. O.C.G.A. § 36-36-2(b). The requirements to which Section 36-36-2(a) refers differ depending on whether the annexation is pursuant to “application by 100 percent of landowners,” “application by owners of 60 percent of land and 60 percent of electors,” or “resolution and referendum.” O.C.G.A. §§ 36-36-20 to 36-36-60.
The Georgia Constitution of 1983 provides:
Laws of a general nature shall have uniform operation throughout this state and no local or special law shall be enacted in any case for which provision has been made by an existing general law, except that the General Assembly may by general law authorize local governments by local ordinance or resolution to exercise police powers which do not conflict with general laws.
Ga. Const., Art. III, Sec. VI, Para. IV(a). See also Commissioners of Wayne County v. Smith, 240 Ga. 540 (1978); Brophy v. McCranie, 264 Ga. 187 (1994). Local laws and ordinances may not violate or exceed the requirements of state laws. See, e.g., 1997 Op. Att’y Gen. U97-27 (August 21, 1997). Therefore, a municipal government may not create rules that make annexations effective prior to the time they are made effective by O.C.G.A. § 36-36-2.
DENNIS R. DUNN
Deputy Attorney General
CHRISTOPHER A. MCGRAW
Assistant Attorney General