Atlanta City Council unveils funding priorities for next budget

Homeless gather along Martin Luther King, Jr Blvd and some sleep on the steps of the Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Wednesday, Jan 20, 2021. Atlanta City Council wants the mayor to identify a sustainable revenue stream to support the city's homeless community. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Homeless gather along Martin Luther King, Jr Blvd and some sleep on the steps of the Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Wednesday, Jan 20, 2021. Atlanta City Council wants the mayor to identify a sustainable revenue stream to support the city's homeless community. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Atlanta City Council wants the mayor to invest more funds into infrastructure maintenance and affordable housing without property tax increases, as she prepares the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The full council on March 15 passed a resolution asking Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to consider and fund 14 priorities recommended by the legislative body.

The council wants to establish a recurring local funding source for affordable housing, according to the resolution, as officials try to avoid a so-called “eviction tsunami” during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Council members want to identify a sustainable revenue stream for ongoing homeless funding as well.

Additionally, the council wants the budget to provide Economic Opportunity Fund grants to Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development authority. According to the resolution, the city should allocate dollars to Invest Atlanta to create a grant fund for new businesses that did not receive money from the federal relief previously dispersed.

The council also wants to adequately fund implementation of the city’s new Tree Protection Ordinance and a new master plan to double the city’s greenspace by 2030 to 10,000 acres. The resolution mentions the desire for an expanded partnership with Atlanta Technical College and the Center for Workforce Innovation to ensure residents have access to training and education for living-wage jobs.

“The process always ends up with a laundry list,” Council President Felicia Moore said.

Bottoms is drafting a fiscal year 2022 budget to propose to City Council next month. The council is currently in recess until they meet again on April 19. Bottoms’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Moore said the council realizes every request will not be fulfilled, but, above all, she stressed the budget must be structurally balanced.

ExploreAtlanta plans to review uses of COVID-19 relief funds in late April

Moore added that infrastructure is “extremely important to citizens” who are dealing with roads that are in bad shape. The council also urged Bottoms to fully fund safety measures ranging from all-way stops to protected bike lanes.

The resolution urges Bottoms to expand funding for building, zoning, code and fire enforcement personnel to combat violations, especially with issues regarding nuisance properties and repeat offenses in and around high-crime areas. The city should also “stay on target to” increase salaries for the city police and fire department personnel, and that police recruiting and training should be a “targeted focus.”

According to the city’s office of budget and fiscal policy, the council is set to receive budget briefings from each city department in May before the council can make budget amendments. The council and the mayor are scheduled to approve the budget in June.

About the Author

ajc.com

Editors' Picks