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What’s new in 2?

Friends and neighbors,
 
There is plenty to talk about in our June newsletter! This week, City Council passed the FY2019 budget, reflecting increased spending on public safety salaries, parks, and the arts. I have also been working to protect our TAD from closure. We're continuing the push to improve our sidewalks and bike lanes, address noise issues, while asking some much needed questions about scooters. All this and more is happening in our District. The summer is shaping up to be a busy one. 

Our monthly newsletters are just a taste of what our office is working on every day. To learn more about our initiatives daily, I invite you to follow me on Twitter.

Council Update

2018-2019 Budget
By a vote of 15-0, my colleagues and I approved the $2.1 billion FY19 annual budget yesterday. For the ninth straight year, City Council reduced property taxes. At my request, we grew the arts budget by $1 million (more on that below). Here are some other highlights:

  • A 3.1% salary increase for police and fire personnel
  • $2.6 million investment in parks and recreation upgrades
  • $3 million for IT to improve cyber security
  • $1.2 million to establish a citywide cleanup crew
  • $258,336 for the City’s ethics department
  • $110,000 for the City’s audit department
  • $1,000 one-time bonus for City of Atlanta correctional officers and personnel
  • $500 one-time bonus for all City of Atlanta general employees
  • $100,000 for HIV/AIDS relief
  • $400,000 for the Atlanta/Fulton County Pre-Arrest Diversion Program

Legislation from Our Office

$1 Million for the Arts
I submitted an amendment asking that we increase the Office of Cultural Affairs budget from just under $995k to $2M. It passed Council unanimously. The Mayor deserves credit for her willingness to expand this funding. We are still well short of the $13.7 million Charlotte invests, a benchmark to aspire to. But we are headed in the right direction. Supporting our arts ecosystem is critical for our economic strength, livability, and cultural influence. I will continue to work to ensure that District 2 remains a hub for arts and culture.

Fighting for the Eastside
The administration's initial budget called for the closure of the Eastside Tax Allocation District. Doing so would have been premature. The TAD is incentivizing projects in some of our most important neighborhoods, including the Old 4th Ward and Downtown. A few weeks ago, I sent a letter to the Mayor outlining my opposition to closing the TAD. You can read it by clicking here. Through a coordinated effort, we staved off the closure for now. But this fight isn't over. I hope that you'll make your voices heard on this key issue.  

Scooters & Sidewalks

My Call for a Work Session
I've heard from many of you about the arrival of "Bird" scooters in town. Some like them, other's don't, most just want answers -- Are they safe? Are they legal? Are they good for mobility in Atlanta? To help answer these questions and more, I've asked the Department of City Planning to convene a work session to explore these issues and educate the public. More on this to come. 

Improved Transparency, Better Infrastructure 
This week, my office introduced a resolution calling for the City to give bi-annual line item spending reports for the money we set aside for the maintenance of sidewalks, bike lanes, and other public infrastructure. This is part of my continuing effort to fully understand our shortcomings in this area so that we can come up with some BIG mobility solutions going forward.

Let's Fix This Sign!

Public Design Competition
As you can see from this photo, the sign that the City requires to be posted outside private parking lots is hard to understand and easy to overlook. We can do better. That's why I'm calling on our city's graphic designers to come up with something better. Our sign should reflect the friendly nature of our City and provide fair warning to residents and visitors while also being aesthetically pleasing.

If you've got a bright idea, I hope you'll participate. The winner of the contest receives $500. Design submissions and contest guidelines can be found by clicking here.

Let's Fix It, 2Gether

Since the launch of Let’s Fix It, 2Gether on May 2nd, the team and I have been busy carefully walking the streets of District 2. So far, we have identified nearly 500 issues that require attention and passed them on to 311 for repairs. We are also keeping a database of the multiple street & sidewalk closures ongoing due to construction. We will continue to monitor this in order to determine how best to improve pedestrian safety and preserve mobility.

We appreciate all the resident submissions of their neighborhood issues! You can reach us on Twitter @FixIt2Gether and sign up for updates at letsfixittogether.org. Please let us know if you’re interested in walking with us this summer! We need your support as we work to make our community stronger.

For more info check out our website here: https://www.letsfixittogether.org/.

In the Community

Monroe-Boulevard Open Houses
There will be a series of open houses on the evening of June 28th to discuss the future of the Monroe Drive/Boulevard Corridor. Share these locations with your neighbors!

When:
June 28, 2018, 6:30pm-8:30pm

Where:
Meeting A:
Monroe Drive/Boulevard from Piedmont Circle to Ponce De Leon Ave.
Henry W. Grady High School
929 Charles Allen Drive NE
Atlanta, GA 30309

Meeting B:
Monroe Drive/Boulevard from Ponce De Leon Ave. to Woodward Ave.
MLK Jr. Recreation & Aquatic Center
110 Hilliard Street SE
Atlanta, GA 30312

Celebrate 4th of July in Old Fourth Ward's inaugural festival! Co-hosted by the Old Fourth Ward Business Association and Ponce City Market, the event features family-friendly activities and local eats.

Our Summer Interns!

After my freshman year of college, I interned with an Atlanta City Councilmember. It was clearly a formative experience! Accordingly, I wanted to give similar opportunities to a new generation of civically engaged students. This summer, my office is thrilled to host three interns: Angela Jiang, Dean Kopitsky (not pictured), and Tarunika Anand.  

Transparency in Action

You should know how your government spends its money.

The following covers money spent from January 1 through May 31, 2018. Please note that the City's fiscal year starts on July 1. 


Staff Salaries & Benefits
Provided for January 1 - June 31, 2018: $131,676.50
Spent from January 1 – May 31, 2018: $88,909.46
 
Office Expenses
Provided for January 1 - June 31, 2018: $28,129.44
Spent from January 1 – May 31, 2018: $22,773.61
Itemized May 2018 Office Expenses in Detail
Computer Purchases, Office Supplies, Cell Phone Fees:
- Laptop, Micro Center Sales: $2,969.97
- Verizon: $66.26

Events & Initiatives:
- Let’s Fix It 2gether Design & Print Materials
Joss Wakamo: $4,200.00
- Let’s Fix It 2gether T-shirts
Baron Press: $801.60
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