The Atlanta City Council on Monday approved the fiscal year 2013 General Fund Budget, which calls for $526.6 million in anticipated revenues, tighter spending and more police officers for the coming year.
The allocation for additional officers would bring the force to 2,000 and represent the largest police force in the city’s history, but the police force presently is below the authorized force and it is past experience suggests it is unlikely the force will reach 2000 in 2013.
Moore who chaired
the Finance Committee
As a reference, current police force levels in Zone 2, which includes all of Buckhead, is not at the authorized level for officers and has not been for some time.
The 2013 Atlanta budget ordinance was approved on substitute as amended by a vote of 12-2.
Yeas included council members Yolanda Adrean of Buckhead, Natalyn Archibong, Michael Julian Bond, Keisha Lance Bottoms, C.T. Martin, Joyce M. Sheperd, Carla Smith, Alex Wan of Buckhead, Aaron Watson, H. Lamar Willis, Cleta Winslow and Ivory Lee Young Jr.
Nays included two Buckhead council members Felicia A. Moore and Howard Shook. Not present was Councilman Kwanza Hall.
"I would like to commend my colleagues for their hard work in vetting the city’s upcoming budget,” said Dist. 9 Councilwoman Felicia A. Moore, chair of the council’s Finance/Executive Committee.
“Each year we are charged with the tremendous responsibility of promoting the most effective and appropriate allocation of our city’s resource,” Moore said. “Despite the slow economic recovery we are experiencing, which has drastically impacted our tax digest, we were able to achieve this in an extremely efficient manner.”
|Councilman Howard Shook|
voted against the budget
ordinance with his Buckhead
colleague Felicia Moore.
Fiscal year 2013 General Fund revenues for city coffers are projected to be at a 10-year low, nearly $120 million below FY08 figures. However, the 2013 budget does not call for a property tax increase for the coming fiscal year that starts July 1.
“The fact that we will be able to provide the level of services that our residents expect with less revenues than in previous years demonstrates our commitment to looking for new and efficient ways of operating,” said City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell. “I too commend this City Council for approving a spending plan that is fiscally prudent and functionally sustainable.”
Other 2013 budget highlights include:
Public Safety: 41 additional sworn officers, increasing the police force to 2,000 officers and 6 additional Code Compliance inspectors
Fiscal Stability: Reserve balance of 20% of operating expenses (over $100 million).
Youth Development: 6 additional Recreation Facility Managers to ensure all facilities with after-school programming have a dedicated facility manager.
|Dist. 8 Buckhead City|
Adrean voted with majority
Economic Development: Increased funding for Invest Atlanta for job growth and economic development, establishment of an International Affairs Office to raise the international profile of the city, resources for street lighting ($200,000) and clean-up crews ($150,000) to beautify the city and increase investment in the arts.
Customer Service & Excellence: Investment in the Office of Sustainability, which will be grant-funded until September 2012, implementation of pay-in-class study findings for classification consolidation and alignment, consolidate and improve the customer service call center and services in Watershed Management.
This year for the first time, the City Council sought public input on spending priorities through an on-line city services satisfaction survey and through public hearings and an interactive town hall meeting where residents were able to submit questions “live” through twitter, telephone and email to city officials regarding Atlanta’s proposed spending priorities for FY 2013.