In this issue:  New Parking Management Contract, District 6 Annexation Activity, Level 2 Drought Information and more...
Happy HolidaysWelcome to the December 2016 edition of the Atlanta City Council District 6 eNewsletter. Below you will find some helpful information about issues in our District and City.

As always, I encourage your feedback and comments. Please contact me at (404) 330-6049 or if I can be of assistance. I appreciate the opportunity to be your voice in our city government.

Wishing each of you a very Happy Holiday this year!

In This Issue

New Parking Management Contract

SP+ logoOn November 7th, Atlanta City Council approved a new management contract with SP+ / All N One joint venture to run our city’s on-street parking program. This new vendor replaces PARKatlanta, which has held the contract for these services since 2009.

Terms of the contract of particular note include:

  • Annual payment of $7 million to the City of Atlanta, an increase over the $5.5 million annual payment from PARKatlanta contract terms
  • Technology upgrades to both the multi-space meters and better mobile payment options
  • Shifting the ticket appeals process back in house to the Department of Public Works
  • Penalties for overturned tickets and broken meters
  • 30-day cancellation clause (contract term is for an initial five-year term, with two one-year renewal options), with only payment due to the joint venture being the unamortized capital outlay for equipment upgrades

Three additional points to clarify include:

  • The increase in annual payment was determined through financial analysis by the City to be feasible within the existing parameters of the current infrastructure without the contractor needing to either increase ticketing or metered spaces.
  • This new contract does NOT include the addition of 1,000 metered parking spaces in the City as has been erroneously reported in the news. Council added a specific clause that requires Council action to increase spaces.
  • Gross revenue received by the program above a certain threshold will be shared with the City of Atlanta at set percentages so as to de-incentivize aggressive ticketing.

As you know, I have been a vocal critic of the PARKatlanta contract due to the high number of metered spaces in District 6 and the negative impact the problems with the contract had on our community. With that, I did vote in support of this new contract because I felt the contract terms addressed most of the concerns that we have been sharing with the administration.

It was also discussed during our deliberations that there would be an opportunity to revisit the City’s parking program, including location of metered spaces, parking zones/terms, and parking rates. I hope that the marked redevelopment that has occurred in recent years may have created streets/areas conducive to addition of metered spaces, and that those additions might enable the City to “rebalance” our inventory by taking out metered spaces in areas where they might not be as appropriate. Please know that I will stay on this and advocate for our District as appropriate.

District 6 Annexation Activity

Edmund Park Annexation MapOver the past 18 months, there has been increasing interest from areas of unincorporated Fulton and DeKalb counties to join the City of Atlanta. Driven largely by these communities’ desire to participate in our progress and continued financial investment in our city, neighborhoods like Edmund Park and residents on Spring Valley Lane, University Drive, and others have successfully annexed into our municipality. (As a technical aside, they have applied for annexation as set forth by Georgia State Code either as 100% owners of their properties or via a petition signed by 60% of both the landowners and registered voters within the designated boundary.)

Generally speaking, annexations provide a way for a municipality to expand. One evaluating factor is that the property tax revenues received from the newly annexed properties meet or exceed the cost to provide municipal services (public safety, sanitation, parks, planning, etc.) to the properties. Due to operating economies of scale, that has typically been the case with the addition of these properties from unincorporated DeKalb.

One additional impact is that the annexed areas join the Atlanta Public School system. Many of the petitioners in this area have found this to be a desirable consideration, given that their children would join the high performing Grady High School cluster. APS would consquently receive the school-related portion of the property tax (approximately one-half).

During deliberations on the most recent annexation proposal for University Dr / Spring Valley Ln, concerns were raised about the Grady cluster’s ability to absorb additional students. Morningside Elementary is currently experiencing significant capacity and facilities issues, and the anticipated expansion plans for the Grady cluster funded through the E-SPLOST (education penny sales tax) are not scheduled to come online until 2020-21. While the areas annexed thus far have had a nominal number of school-aged children, the potential remains as houses sell to new families.
Annexation Map for University Dr / Spring Valley Ln
Please know that I am very aware of these issues. Consequently, I have made it my practice to inform my counterpart on the Atlanta School Board, Matt Westmoreland, as soon as any group of residents begins considering annexation so that he/APS has ample opportunity to comment as they deem appropriate. (In the same spirit, I also relay any proposed zoning changes with the District that might impact the system.)

What we have come to realize, however, is that the annexation process set by state law currently does not mandate a service delivery plan from the impacted school system to ensure that (1) the system is properly informed and (2) the system has the opportunity to formally weigh in on the proposal. As I promised during our public hearings, such a proposal has now been added to the City’s legislative package to submit to the Georgia Legislature in January for consideration.

Since the most recent annexation, APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen has assessed the capacity impacts from these neighborhoods and has assigned these properties to the Springdale Park Elementary School attendance zone. The overall Grady cluster capacity issues remain, and I believe interest in annexation from unincorporated DeKalb will continue. Accordingly, I will remain a strong advocate for the Grady cluster in encouraging Mr. Westmoreland and APS to accelerate the proposed expansion plans for our District 6 schools.

Metro Atlanta Level 2 Water Restrictions in Effect

water dropGovernor Nathan Deal announced increased water restrictions across much of the state as a result of the deepening drought in the Southeast. The state has shifted to a Level 2 response in 52 northern Georgia counties -- including all of metro Atlanta, while an additional 58 counties have imposed a Level 1 drought response. 

Despite recent rain in the area, under a Level 2 drought response, outdoor landscape watering is only permitted two days a week, based on an odd-even address system:

  • even-numbered addresses may water on Wed. and Sat., 4:00 p.m. - 10:00 a.m.
  • odd-numbered addresses may water on Thurs. and Sun., 4:00 p.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Prohibited outdoor water uses include: 

  • Washing of hard surfaces such as streets and sidewalks
  • Water for ornamental purposes, such as fountains
  • The use of fire hydrants -- except for firefighting and public safety 
  • Non-commercial washing of vehicles
  • Non-commercial pressure washing
  • Fundraising car washes
The counties under a Level 2 drought response are:  Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Athens-Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dade, Dawson, Dekalb, Douglas, Fannin, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gilmer, Gordon, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Harris, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Lamar, Lumpkin, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Murray, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Union, Upson, Walker, Walton, White and Whitfield.

Holiday Safety Reminders

With the holidays approaching, here are a few safety tips to remember:

mailbox image1.  Check mail daily and make sure all packages left at the doorstep are retrieved immediately, or arrange to pick up packages if possible if you will be gone during times when they are likely to be delivered. For those not home during the day, consider having your packages delivered to your office. 

Work with your neighbors to keep an eye out for suspicious vehicles or people who may be in the area to steal mail and packages.

2.  Never leave valuables in plain sight in your vehicle. Better yet, never leave valuables in your vehicle at all!

don't leave anything in your car

3.  When shopping, don’t get overloaded with too many packages. Keep at least one hand free so you can easily access your car keys to enter your vehicle without delay.

4.  Stay alert in public spaces. Know where your purse, packages, wallet, cell phone and other valuables are at all times and never leave valuables unattended. Talking or texting on your phone or digging in your purse for your keys while walking is a distraction and makes you an easy target.

5.  Do not leave empty boxes curbside that might identify newly purchased valuable merchandise in your home, e.g. flat-screen TV boxes, etc.

As always, report all suspicious activity to law enforcement and/or your local Neighborhood Watch. 

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