The Atlanta City Council has sent state lawmakers its wish list of local initiatives for passage during the 2009 legislative session, which opens Jan. 12.
The council voted 12-0 Nov. 17 for a resolution approving the legislative agenda. It includes public safety and revenue recovery initiatives from permitting local governments to install photo speed detection devices in school zones to allowing municipal courts to suspend a driver’s license for failure to pay traffic fines.
Other initiatives include a measure to allow cities to regulate secondary metals recyclers in an effort to curtail a rising number of crimes related to the theft of copper and other valuable metals and legislation that would allow the diversification of a small portion of employee pension fund investments by municipalities.
“While some of the measures are previous proposals that were not adopted in the last General Assembly, others are new proposals that will benefit municipalities across the state as well as Atlanta,” council President Lisa Borders said.
“With all of our proposals, we look forward to working not only with our local delegation and across both aisles, but also those municipalities with a vested interest in the items that the city of Atlanta is proposing as well,” said council member Howard Shook of Buckhead, the chairman of the council’s Finance Committee.
The public safety proposals would amend state law to:
• Allow local governments to restrict guns in city parks.
• Allow local governments to restrict ownership of assault weapons within the city limits.
• Allow municipal courts to suspend drivers’ licenses for failure to pay fines.
• Authorize municipalities to require vacant property registration.
• Permit photo speed detection devices in school zones.
• Regulate secondary metals recyclers.
The fiscal proposals would amend the law to:
• Allow the city to impose a wholesale alcohol tax increase.
• Allow the city to increase the per-drink tax on alcohol.
• Allow the city to impose a by-the-glass tax for beer and wine.
• Create a gaming authority and establish a gaming excise tax.
• Permit limited pension investments in alternative financial instruments.
• Permit a local-option real estate transfer tax to finance green-space acquisition and maintenance.
• Require independent school districts to compensate municipalities for the costs of conducting elections.
• Allow cities with a development authority to negotiate for the sale of surplus city property as an additional tool in marketing property.
• Allow the municipal court to add a 10 percent surcharge to any criminal or traffic fine to finance court programs.
Sewer and wastewater proposals would:
• Amend state law to permit the use of liens to collect water and sewer bills.
• Support earmarking of stipulated penalties paid to the state for spills and other consent-decrees violations to finance supplemental environmental projects in the city of Atlanta.
— John Schaffner