The group behind the push to create a new city of East Cobb has hired a lobbyist to help persuade lawmakers to support the effort.

John Garst registered with the state as a lobbyist for the Committee for Cityhood in East Cobb Inc. on Monday. Records indicate he is paid more than $10,000 for his work on behalf of the committee. He is also a registered lobbyist for the cities of Brookhaven and Stonecrest, according to state records.

Phil Kent, who is serving as a spokesperson for the committee, confirmed Garst’s hiring on Wednesday. Kent said Garst will work to inform legislators about the benefits of cityhood for east Cobb and push for legislation that would allow the city to incorporate.

The cityhood process in Georgia takes two years, but Kent would not speculate on when a public referendum may make its way to the ballot.

Proposed to span about 40 square miles with a population of about 97,000, the city of East Cobb would be the county’s largest both by population and land area. Marietta currently leads in both categories with a population of about 61,000, according to 2017 U.S. Census data, and an area of about 23 square miles.

A $36,000 feasibility study commissioned by the committee released in December concluded that the area could incorporate without raising taxes, but some have questioned that study’s analysis.

On Wednesday, Kent said the committee has raised money to pay for Garst’s services and the feasibility study, but declined to say who is contributing to the effort.

The committee plans to hold community events to reach out to the public about its efforts, Kent said, but so far, none have been scheduled.

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