The Atlanta City Council approved a $661.4 million fiscal year 2019 budget for the city at today’s meeting.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ first budget in her tenure includes public safety, economic development, equity, transparency and quality of life needs.

Highlights of the approved budget, which does not propose any tax increases or rely upon the city’s reserve funds, include:

·         A 3.1 percent pay increase, plus a one-time $500 bonus for the Atlanta Police Department and the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department to assist with both retention and recruitment.

·         A one-time, $1,000 bonus for the Atlanta Department of Corrections.

·         Funding to support city employees including a one-time bonus of $500 for all non-sworn employees and increase of the city’s living wage increase to $14 per hour.

·         A $1 million increase in funding for the arts and $2.6 million for upgrades throughout the city-wide system of parks, recreation and cultural facilities.

·         Funding to support the new One Atlanta Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, which is charged with ensuring access to opportunity and oversees efforts including homelessness, criminal justice reform and LGBTQ affairs.

·         The budget includes $400,000 for the Atlanta/Fulton County Pre-Arrest Diversion Initiative, which will expand diversion hours, capacity, and diverting agencies.  Additional funding has also been allocated for the Public Defender.

·         The budget also earmarks $100,000 in HIV program resources to begin tackling the city’s HIV/AIDS crisis.

·         Increased funding for the City’s Board of Ethics and Citizen Review Board as well as the City Auditor’s Office to ensure transparency, fiscal responsibility and adherence to all City policies.

·         Investments in city services including $1.6 million to increase the number of pothole crews, support clean-up crews and fund transportation maintenance needs.

·          $3.5 million for upgrades to the city’s IT security and infrastructure.

“I am grateful to the City Council for their support of this budget, which was designed to ensure that the City of Atlanta is operating as a sound steward of public funding while delivering the services, programs and opportunities our residents deserve and our community needs to grow jobs and expand opportunity,” commented Mayor Bottoms.  “I look forward to a continued partnership as we implement the measures this budget will fund.”

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.