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Felicia Moore

Courtesy of Atlanta City Council

If there's a new proposed sales tax on the ballot in Atlanta this year, City Council member Felicia Moore wants to make sure some of the money goes to public safety.

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At the State of the City address last month, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed proposed a one-tenth of a penny sales tax specifically to fund the arts.  The tax could potentially raise $10 million-$15 million.

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The Atlanta City Council  on Tuesday did not approve proposed legislation that would have tightened restrictions on new recording studios.

The ordinance was introduced by Council member Felicia Moore. She said she's received complaints about noise coming from recording studios in her district and too many cars parked outside.

The ordinance would have required all new recording studios to obtain a special use permit and be 300 feet or farther from residential areas.

But her plan failed. She was the only council member who voted for it.

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Atlanta's music scene is legendary, and recording studios are a big part of it.  But, some studios have caused noise complaints.  A few have seen deadly shootings.

That prompted a proposed city ordinance to regulate new recording spaces.  It's set for a full council vote on Tuesday.

If the ordinance passes, new studios would have to be sound proof and have a special use permit.  They also couldn't open within 300 feet of homes. 

Atlanta Streetcar
Alison Guillory / WABE

Members of Atlanta's City Council say the city should look into MARTA taking over full operation of the streetcar after state officials threatened to shut the light rail system down. 

At a transportation committee meeting Wednesday, council members grilled city and MARTA officials over how they’re addressing dozens of problems flagged by the Georgia Department of Transportation in a letter sent last month.

Councilman Kwanza Hall said that the city should let MARTA take full control of the system.

Alison Guillory / WABE

The city of Atlanta says it will neither confirm nor deny that it is going to hire an outside vendor to operate the Atlanta Streetcar.

That's despite several reports saying the city will get a contractor to get the troubled system on track.

The Georgia Department of Transportation's deadline to address and repair numerous problems with the streetcar is June 14; if the system does not meet the deadline, the streetcar could be shut down.

G-DOT identified 60 outstanding problems with the streetcar. They include issues with organization, maintenance and safety.

As he gave details Monday of his reasons for firing two high-profile department heads, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said his style is to make adjustments when necessary.

Jo Ann Macrina, former commissioner of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management, and Miguel Southwell, former Hartsfield-Jackson general manager, are the two latest department heads to be looking for work elsewhere. It's not the first leadership change for either department during Reed's administration.

Reed insists there's no more turnover than under previous mayors.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Wednesday morning, crews will start demolishing an abandoned shopping center between Moores Mill Road and Marietta Boulevard in northwest Atlanta.

It will make way for a new mixed-use development, including a 45,000-square-foot Publix grocery store.

"It's taken a long time," said Herbert Ames, southeast vice president for Edens, the developer with the project.

Edens first started working to redevelop the space a decade ago but faced a series of roadblocks.

  

The city of Atlanta recently made a $9.1 million payment to the Atlanta Public Schools.  It's part of an effort to resolve a long-running battle between the city and APS over how, when – and how much – the city will repay APS for school tax money Atlanta used to build the BeltLine.

 

Predatory. Punitive. Profit-driven.

 

That is how Atlanta residents described Park Atlanta at a town hall meeting with City Council members Wednesday night.

 

The city is contemplating parting ways with Park Atlanta, the private company that manages paid street parking.

 

Atlanta City Council Member Felicia Moore explained how the contract came to be:

Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

Fulton County Animal Control says UniverSoul Circus may have violated an Atlanta city animal abuse ordinance during a performance on Saturday.

When “Bo” the elephant refused to return backstage after its set, circus staff used a tool called a “bullhook” to regain control of the animal.

Bellwood Quarry is used for film and TV shoots, including ''The Hunger Games''; which had a scene at this spot, and ''The Walking Dead.''
Brenna Beech / WABE

About a mile from Midtown, there’s a 400 foot hole in the ground. Bellwood Quarry was mined for a century. Now the city’s transforming it into a reservoir, and the hundreds of acres around it will eventually be Atlanta’s biggest park.

It looks like some place in the Rocky Mountains. Bellwood Quarry has steep granite walls and crystal clear water. A road snakes down the side to the bottom.  

Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond says he grew up near here. He remembers as a kid, the community was not happy with the quarry.

Atlanta Police Department
Atlanta Police Department

  In the next 90 days, the Atlanta Police Department will have to submit a plan to the city about the feasibility of police officers wearing body cameras after the Atlanta City Council passed a resolution earlier this week requiring it to do so.

The resolution spearheaded by Councilwoman Felicia Moore passed City Council Tuesday.

Moore said Wednesday it was inspired by the shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and City Councilwoman Felicia Moore sparred Wednesday over big cash payouts given to members of Reed's senior staff. Critics claim the payouts, which where issued in exchange for unused sick and vacation days, violate city code. 

At a Council finance committee, Reed denied the payouts were illegal, saying they were given through what he called a grey area of city policy.

Atlanta city employees are blasting Mayor Kasim Reed, accusing him of illegally handing out big cash payouts to members of his senior staff for unused sick and vacation time.  

At Monday’s City Council meeting, public comment period was dominated by city employees, mostly police and firefighters.

Sgt. Darren Barr, an 18-year veteran of the police force, said Reed's administration was giving preferential treatment.

Reed Yet To Explain Policy At Center Of Payout Controversy

Aug 17, 2014
City of Atlanta

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has yet to explain the various "hardships" that allowed some of his senior staff to receive extra cash payouts last year as high as $79,000.

Critics say the payouts were illegal and accuse Reed of giving preferential treatment.

Reed has defended the payouts since they became known earlier this month.

“This is something we were able to do that was done frequently. It’s not illegal,” said Reed. 

City of Atlanta

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is defending the big cash payouts given to senior officials in his administration for unused sick and vacation time, despite some city council members raising concerns the payments were improper.

Police chief George Turner, who makes an annual salary of about $240,000, received an extra $79,000 last year for nearly 700 hours of unused vacation time.

Councilwoman Felicia Moore says the city should not have allowed the extra money to go to Turner.  

A joint meeting Tuesday between the Atlanta City Council and board members of Atlanta Public Schools ended with both sides acknowledging the need to solve a contract dispute over Atlanta BeltLine debt.

The solution, however, remains unclear.

APS says it’s due millions for giving up a portion of its property tax money for the BeltLine, but the city disputes the school system's figures. 

Atlanta City Council Approves FY15 Budget

Jun 16, 2014
Wally Gobetz via flickr

The Atlanta City Council Monday approved a $567 million spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1st. Revenues are up due to the recovering economy so residents need not worry about a tax hike.

Instead, the city is looking to bolster services - an issue that sparked some rare disagreement between Mayor Kasim Reed and some of his traditional allies on Council.

As Council debated the mayor’s proposed budget into the evening, Reed felt the need to add some perspective.

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The Atlanta City Council is expected to finalize a budget for the upcoming fiscal year Monday.  No tax hikes are expected. City revenues are on the upswing due to the recovering economy.  

But a few issues remain unresolved.

Among them, Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration needs to fill a $5 million budget hole. To do that, Reed originally planned to retire the Eastside Tax Allocation District, which is designed to help spur redevelopment in a part of downtown including the Sweet Auburn neighborhood.

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In wake of new ethics allegations against long-time Atlanta City Councilwoman Cleta Winslow, Council President Ceasar Mitchell wants a new position to advise Council members on spending and ethics.  

“If we had an internal function that says, 'wait, you’re going to actually procure this service but we have a checklist here that says this isn’t compliant with the code or this law has changed,' then I think that could be very helpful and I've made that recommendation and I'm going to make that recommendation again," said Mitchell.  

The Atlanta City Council Monday reprimanded the city’s embattled Watershed chief and members of Mayor Kasim Reed’s team over hefty raises awarded to five Watershed managers.

Watershed Commissioner Jo Ann Macrina said legislation approved in 2012 gave her broad authority to adjust salaries to help attract and retain workers.

“Part of the reason we are losing good people is we can’t pay them the salaries they are getting elsewhere,” said Macrina.

Michael Julian Bond
Central Atlanta Progress

The Atlanta City Council passed a largely symbolic resolution Monday urging continued negotiations with the Atlanta Braves.

Last week, the team stunned the Council by announcing its intention to relocate from downtown Atlanta to Cobb County.

Councilman Michael Julian Bond said he didn’t want the history books to show the City Council didn’t at least try.

Atlanta’s City Council approved a new budget Monday, but Mayor Kasim Reed is still drawing criticism for a last-minute budget amendment that set aside millions to cover extra costs associated with luring businesses to the city.

The Reed-backed $2.3 million amendment was submitted just hours before the final budget vote. 

Councilwoman Felicia Moore, chair of the council’s finance committee, said details were majorly lacking, beyond a basic idea that Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm, would use the funds as a perk for relocating businesses.

By a 12-3 vote, the Atlanta City Council Monday approved a $539 million budget for the fiscal year starting July 1st.

It includes a compromise deal from Mayor Kasim Reed aimed at placating city employees who had been demanding higher pay raises.

Despite still declining revenues, the budget avoids service cuts and a property tax hike, while adding about a million dollars to the city’s $126 million reserve fund and paying for a new 311 customer service hotline.

City of Atlanta

The Atlanta City Council is expected to vote Monday on a final budget plan for fiscal year 2014.

Mayor Kasim Reed proposed the $539 million budget last month. It avoids a property tax increase and includes funds to launch a new 311 customer service hotline, add to the city's growing reserves, and maintain a police force of nearly 2,000, up 700 officers since Reed took office. 

Councilwoman Felicia Moore, chair of the City Council’s finance committee, doesn't expect too many major changes to the mayor's proposal.

1400 Atlanta workers might get raises

Jun 15, 2012
Charles Edwards / WABE News

About 7,500 people work for the city of Atlanta. More than 1,000 of them could see a pay raise under a plan City Council is considering.

Last year, Mayor Kasim Reed led an effort to reform the city’s pension system. The reforms saved an estimated $25 million this year.

“That allowed us to have a little bit of flexibility this year,” said City Council Finance Committee member Aaron Watson.

Higher fines for Atlanta parking tickets possible

May 29, 2012

Will Atlanta bring back 24 hour enforcement of street parking or raise fines and fees on people who don’t pay their parking tickets?

Today, the city council will start finalizing an answer to that question.

Last month, Mayor Kasim Reed proposed returning to 24 hour enforcement to fill a projected $4 million budget hole. Many residents criticized that plan. In response, the Mayor’s office countered.  

Tax revenue loss will tighten Atlanta's budget

Feb 23, 2012
Charles Edwards / WABE News

 

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is preparing his budget recommendations for the fiscal year that starts on July First. Earlier this week, he said he’ll recommend spending $20 million less than the current budget. During its recent retreat, the city council started to prepare for the recommendations.

City council President Ceasar Mitchell said the Mayor is reacting to a decrease in Atlanta’s property tax collections.