What we’re watching in Atlanta City Council on Mon., May 3

ATLANTA — Atlanta City Council will meet on Monday for its first of two regular meetings in May. City council members will discuss the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY2022) budget in the City of Atlanta overview meetings. According to the meeting’s agenda, council members will review resolutions and ordinances voted favorable on Mon., April 26, during the council’s last Public Safety and Legal Administration (PSLA) Committee meeting. 

Council members will also appoint two volunteer council persons to the Budget Commission; the city budget is required by law to be enacted by July 1. Daniel Ebersole, who serves as vice chair of the audit committee, will be submitting the performance audit report for last year’s police hiring practices as well as staff recommendations that will be referred to the PSLA.

To recap, we are still tracking new resolutions that were voted favorably in committee by council members who were present: Joyce Sheperd, Michael Julian Bond, Carla Smith, Cleta Winslow, Dustin Hillis, and Andrea L. Boone. Those resolutions include 21-R-3301 from Antonio Brown regarding police officers’ “duty to intervene”; 21-R-3299 from J.P. Matzigkeit that seeks to authorize the mayor’s agreements between City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Police Foundation; 21-R-3400 by the PSLA committee that seeks to authorize Homeland Security funds to Urban Area Security Initiative Agency; 21-R-3401 by the PSLA committee that would authorize the mayor to accept a donation in the form of four mobile surveillance trailers from the Atlanta Police Foundation. You can read about these resolutions more in-depth here.

Here are a few new things we are looking out for in Monday’s council meeting.

Councilmember Bond’s resolution to create a task force consisting of representatives from the City of Atlanta and Fulton County government to develop a “framework” to deal with the severe overcrowding at the Fulton County jail was tabled at council’s last full council meeting on Mon., April 19. It will be coming back up for consideration again on Monday.

Why we care about this: Overcrowding at the jail only became a hot topic within council once Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat proposed renting and/or purchasing the Atlanta City Detention Center (ACDC). Despite many hours of public comment and huge efforts by activists, decarceration has never been discussed at city council. This resolution will only create yet another avenue for keeping ACDC as an active jail. To learn more about how we got here, check out our recent in-depth reporting on the issue and follow Women on the Rise.

A resolution by the PSLA committee that would authorize Mayor Bottoms to enter into the fourth year of a five-year contract with Asque Construction and Home Inspection, LLC., on behalf of the Atlanta police code enforcement section in an amount not to exceed $500,000. This resolution was introduced Mon., April 26, and was voted unanimously favorable by all present.

Why we care about this: This is an increase of $200,000 compared to previous years: the maximum amount was $300,000 in 2017, $250,000 in 2018, and $300,000 again in 2019 and 2020. Further, areas in the city that are deemed a “nuisance” are being aggressively targeted to address a backlog of code enforcement calls triggered by the pandemic last year.

An ordinance by the community development/human services committee to designate four sites of public land for use as permanent affordable housing.

Why we care about this: Three of the four properties are currently slated as single-family homes, while the fourth will be developed as mixed use. This ordinance appears to be more for PR optics as it does little to address the ongoing housing crisis.

A new ordinance introduced by Councilmember Howard Shook targeting short-term rentals that is up for a second reading after being adopted on Mon., April 26. This legislation will set an 8% tax on short-term rentals each night and will require a $150 per property registration fee. 

Why we care about this: This ordinance was created to target “party houses” rather than to address the fact that short-term rentals, which are defined as occupancy of less than 31 days, drastically reduce available housing for those looking for longer occupancy. 

We will continue to report on these resolutions as they make their way through council.

Atlanta’s municipal elections, which includes all seats for city council and the mayor’s office, take place this November. The Georgia General Assembly elections take place in the fall of 2022. Stay tuned for more resources and coverage from us ahead of these elections. Subscribe to our newsletter here to stay connected.

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