Atlanta Out Loud

Politics and rantings and just stuff that catches my attention.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

|| 9:47:07 PM
"It's Not Enough"

Well, they finally did it. The State of Georgia has stepped up to the plate to help the City of Atlanta with their sewer problems. Two things happened today:

Governor Perdue will ask the legislature to approve $50 million annually in loans to the city of Atlanta over the next 10 years. That totals a half billion dollars of the $3 billion Franklin says she needs.

At about the same time, Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson from Savannah announced that he would introduce legislation to allow the City of Atlanta to put a one cent sales tax on the ballot for approval by city residents. If approved, that would raise about another half billion dollars.

There are predictions that this may open up the purse strings of the federal government for some help.

Those two pieces put together would add up to about one-third of the cost of sewer repairs if you go by Franklin's figures. Almost half if you go by what is actually mandated by the courts. But Shirley, ever the broken record, still says she's standing by her original request to triple sewer fees and her standoff with the City Council. She's consistent if nothing else. How can we not be suspicious of this woman who refuses to budge no matter what prizes fall from the sky?

The residents of Atlanta would still take it in the pants. They would be the ones to repay the state loans and they will be the ones to pay the city sales tax. But both measures -- the tax in particular -- is the best way to spread the burden to everyone, not just those homeowners and business owners who pay sewer fees. It would also generate some of the costs from the tourists who will hopefully continue to flock here if we don't kill off the last beacon of hope for this city -- our nightlife.

Early responses from the City Council on the potential passage of the sales tax were lukewarm at best. Some say that it only puts a fresh coat of paint on a bad deal for the citizens. They might be right, but the benefit is that is spreads that burden. The sales tax will fly around here only if it is met with a decrease in the increase in sewer rates along the lines of what the Council passed earlier this month.

We'll see what happens on January 5th at the Council's next meeting.


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