By Jesse A. Hancock

Atlanta Dist. 9 City Councilwoman Felicia Moore reported to Neighborhood Planning Unit C on May 5 on the “very significant” financial issues the city faces and Mayor Shirley Franklin’s recent proposal for the fiscal 2010 budget.

The most significant item in the mayor’s budget proposal is a $3.1 million citywide property tax increase, Moore told those attending the meeting at Trinity Presbyterian Church on Howell Mill Road.

The councilwoman said the increase in property taxes to homeowners would allow the city to keep more fire stations open and would eliminate the need for firefighter and police furlough days.

Moore said some of the new costs incorporated into the budget proposal — the last from Franklin before she leaves office — are the result of “mismanaged” finances.

Department of Watershed Management representative Kris Garcia reported on the recently released audit of the department by KPMG, which is available to read at www.atlantaga.gov.

Garcia told the NPU-C board that KPMG made 83 recommendations but did not do a risk analysis of the recommendations. He said the department sent the audit report to seven outside sources for review, and all but one of the recommendations in the audit came back rated as low or moderate risk.

Lt. Mark Cotter of the Atlanta Police Department’s Zone 2 said the main crime his department is seeing in NPU-C is burglary; he said the troubled economy is most likely to blame. Cotter urged people to watch for and report anything suspicious.

“The good news is that citywide crime is down 12 percent from last year at this time,” Cotter said.

Atlanta Fire Rescue Department representatives reported that Fire Station 23 on Howell Mill Road at Chattahoochee Avenue will likely reopen this summer if the mayor’s budget proposals are approved. Also, although 125 firefighter positions were eliminated citywide because of budget cutbacks this year, the department will begin training 35 prospective firefighters May 15 and is looking to refill some of those positions.

Hiring also is likely because 47 seasoned firefighters could retire this year.

It was also announced that the Atlanta Fire Foundation is having its annual golf tournament Monday, June 1, at North Fulton Golf Course at Chastain Park, 216 W. Wieuca Road. The cost is $75 per person or $300 for a foursome. For more information, visit www.atlantafirefoundation.org, or call James McLemore at 404-558-1186.

State Rep. Elly Dobbs (D-Buckhead) discussed a $3 billion shortfall in state revenues, to be offset by $1.3 billion in federal stimulus funds.

She listed as a major highlight of the 2009 legislative session that lawmakers avoided Gov. Sonny Perdue’s proposed 10 percent cut in Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals and 6 percent cut in repayments to physicians. The final version of the fiscal 2010 budget also included $140 million to take care of unexpected Medicaid deficits caused by the rising unemployment rate in Georgia.