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In this issue:  Monroe Drive / Boulevard Complete Street Update, Recent Increase in Water Leaks, Water and Sewer Appeals Board Opening, 'A CHaRMing Evening' – Save the Date, Glass Recycling and more...
Welcome to the March 2017 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 awan@atlantaga.gov if I can be of assistance. I appreciate the opportunity to be your voice in our city government.

In This Issue

Monroe Drive / Boulevard Complete Street Update

On February 28, 2017, Renew Atlanta hosted a second public meeting to discuss the Monroe Drive / Boulevard Complete Street project at Big Bethel AME Church. Renew Atlanta/TSPLOST General Manager, Faye Q. DiMassimo, and Project Manager, Regan Hammond, presented to the approximately 300 people in attendance.

Faye Q. DiMassimo (left), Councilmember Alex Wan (center) and Regan Hammond (right)
The meeting featured a live polling segment, where attendees were able to weigh in on their thoughts regarding the proposed project designs and displays and view real-time results. For those that were unable to attend, please incorporate your thoughts on each display on your comment card.
The links below include all information presented at the meeting:
We appreciate those who were able to attend this meeting and encourage feedback from all. For any questions or concerns regarding this project, please call (404) 339-6165 or email us at RenewAtlanta@AtlantaGa.gov.
Additionally, please use the Renew Atlanta Project Update Portal to subscribe to project updates and public meeting notifications. This system informs you when updates have been made to the Renew Atlanta website, based on your selected Council District, Project Category or both. You will also be informed of upcoming public meetings in your area. When you sign up, you will receive project update messages based on your specified location, to your email address(es), mobile or business phone(s). You may also receive messages based on project categories that interest you. You pick where, you pick how!

Recent Increase in Water Leaks

As you know, I serve as the Chair of City Utilities Committee this year, and the Department of Watershed Management falls under our committee’s purview. In this capacity, I will share with you, from time to time, information we learn that I hope will be of interest or of help to you.

In their most recent quarterly report to our committee, we discussed the recent increase in reported water leaks throughout the city. We were told that stress from the dramatic swings in temperature we experienced in November and December on our aging underground pipes was the primary cause. We also learned that due to a large number of vacancies in Watershed’s “linear infrastructure” group, the city is short the number of crews needed to conduct all the repairs in a timely manner. As a result, Watershed was forced to prioritize water main breaks and larger leaks over the other smaller leaks. Watershed also secured outside contractors to supplement city teams, while concurrently increasing recruitment efforts to fill the vacancies. With the more moderate weather in January and February, they are making good ground on catching back up.

I appreciate everyone who has contacted our office to report leaks you see, particularly the ones that have been going on for some time. We will continue to send those to Watershed, but in the meantime, I wanted you to have additional background information on why it was taking a bit of time to get some of these reports addressed. We absolutely value this precious resource and look forward to when the department is again fully staffed.

Water and Sewer Appeals Board Opening

The City of Atlanta's Water and Sewer Appeals Board is comprised of seven persons as follows:

  • six members from paired district councilmembers with the concurrence of the at-large councilmember
  • one member nominated by the Atlanta City Council President
The appeals board member serving District 6, which is paired with District 5 (Natalyn Archibong) and Post 2 At-Large (Mary Norwood), is currently vacant. Qualified parties should contact our office at (404) 330-6049 or via email at awan@atlantaga.gov. Members are appointed to three-year terms and are compensated for their service.

appeals boardThe Water and Sewer Appeals Board serves an invaluable role in city government. Board members consider and rule on determinations made pursuant to Ordinance 154-26 (shown below) as well as consider and rule on appeals from administrative penalties imposed pursuant to the City of Atlanta Water Use Restrictions Ordinance and the City of Atlanta Waste of Water Ordinance
Sec. 154-26. - Water and sewer appeals board
 
(a) There is created a water and sewer appeals board which shall consist of seven persons who shall be residents of the area served by the department of water.
(b) Members of the board shall be selected as follows:
     (1) Six members will be nominated by the paired district councilmembers with the concurrence of the at-large councilmember and one member will be nominated by the president of council.
     (2) The nominations shall be voted on by the entire council, which shall either approve or disapprove each nomination.
     (3) The membership shall consist of at least three lay persons, one of whom must be retired and over 60 years of age, and four other persons, with at least one from each of the following three categories: residential property management, plumber or property maintenance person with at least five years of plumbing experience, civil or mechanical engineering.
(c) Each member of the board shall be paid $50.00 for each board meeting attended; provided, however, the total amount paid any member shall not exceed the sum of $6,000.00 in any one calendar year.
(d) Members shall be appointed for three-year terms. Any vacancy in the membership shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the initial appointment. No person shall serve more than eight consecutive years as a member of the board.
(e) A member shall be elected annually by the board to preside at all meetings of the board, for whatever purpose called, and shall perform and exercise all of the functions, powers and duties granted or assigned by applicable law to a person who presides at or chairs meetings of the board; provided, however, the member shall not be permitted to vote on any matters brought before the board except to break tie votes. The board may elect another member to preside in the absence of the presiding officer, and such person shall also not be permitted to vote while presiding except to break tie votes. Three members of the board will constitute a quorum.
(f) The board shall establish its own rules of procedure for the accomplishment of its duties and functions, provided that such rules shall not be in conflict with this Code, state and federal law and the water and sewer revenue bond ordinances.
(g) The board shall address administrative-related matters exclusively; it shall not have the authority to make policy decisions.
(h) The duties and authority of the board shall be to:
     (1) Consider and rule on determinations made pursuant to this ordinance, provided that such appeals are timely and accompanied, unless waived by the commissioner of the department of watershed management, by the amount in dispute. Consider and rule on appeals from administrative penalties imposed pursuant to the City of Atlanta Water Use Restriction's Ordinance (Atlanta City Code section 154-73 et seq.) and the City of Atlanta Waste of Water Ordinance (Atlanta City Code section 154-59 et seq.).
     (2) Set forth findings of fact and conclusions as to each dispute, to be mailed to the consumer, and file the findings with the municipal clerk.
     (3) When appropriate, order the department of water to refund, credit or adjust the amount or portion of the amount in dispute.
     (4) Furnish the following to all appellants:
          a. An opportunity to be heard in person, and to present witnesses and documentary evidence.
          b. The right to be represented by counsel, although counsel shall not be furnished by the city.
          c. The right to confront and cross examine employees or agents of the city as to the basis for determining the amount billed.
(i) The executive branch shall provide such staff services as may be required for the efficient operation of the board, through the department of watershed management.
 
(Code 1977, § 9-4086; Ord. No. 1998-87, § 4, 12-10-98; Ord. No. 2007-39(07-O-0956), §§ 11, 14, 6-26-07; Ord. No. 2010-70(10-O-1914), §§ 11, 14, 12-15-10; Ord. No. 2011-01(10-O-2116), §§ 1, 2, 1-27-11; Ord. No. 2011-02(10-O-2117), § 1, 1-27-11; Ord. No. 2011-25(11-O-0850), § 1, 6-29-11)
 
Cross reference— Boards, councils, commissions and authorities, § 2-1851 et seq.

Save the Date:  April 27, 2017 for 'A CHaRMing Evening'

CHaRM logoPlease join me, Councilmember Carla Smith and the Board of Directors of LiveThrive Atlanta for A CHaRMing Evening on Thursday, April 27, 2017 from 6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at Venkman's. Our emcee for the evening is Lois Reitzes of WABE. Drinks, appetizers and awesome entertainment by Yacht Rock Revue.

The evening will include the announcement of the lucky winner of a 2017 BMW i3 sponsored by Global Imports BMW!
For more information or to purchase event and raffle tickets, please visit charmbmw.org. Proceeds will benefit Atlanta's Center for Hard to Recycle Material (CHaRM). CHaRM is your one stop shop for recycling items that cannot be placed in your blue recycling cart such as household hazardous waste, paint, electronics, styrofoam, etc. CHaRM is located at 1110 Hill St SE Atlanta, GA 30315.

Glass Recycling

The following appeared in the most recent issue of Ansleyphile, the official newsletter of the Ansley Park Civic Association, and is included here for your convenience.

Glass Recycling – Let's Be Clear
by Anna Winer
When it comes to recycling glass, Atlanta residents have gotten some conflicting information. There have been news stories that the glass we place in our blue bins isn’t actually being recycled but is instead being taken from the recycling facility to the landfill. The city’s website insists that the city continues to collect glass, but collecting doesn’t necessarily mean recycling. 

First the bad news. That actually is what’s happening. According to Tom Jung, Executive Director of the non-profit organization Recycling Rules and Communications Aide for Atlanta City Councilmember Alex Wan, there are many complex reasons why Atlanta is not currently recycling glass. The type of recycling that we do is called “single stream,” meaning that we combine all our recyclable materials together in the big blue bins. The city trucks collect it and deliver it to a Material Recovery Facility, or MRF (pronounced “murf”), where it is separated into its various components: plastic, aluminum, paper, etc. Unfortunately, the glass that currently comes through the MRF is too contaminated to draw a good price, and so it is taken to the landfill. Gloria Hardagree, of the Georgia Recycling Coalition, points out that this situation is not unique to Atlanta, but is “a national issue that precipitated formation of the national Glass Recycling Coalition.” Read more at www.glassrecycles.org.

So if glass is going to the landfill anyway, wouldn’t it make sense to skip a step and put it straight in the trash? Not so, according to Mr. Jung, who pointed out that there are still good reasons to keep putting your glass into the blue recycling bin. 

First, it saves the city money. Every ton of garbage costs the city something on the order of $35 to dispose of in the landfill. Recycling, on the other hand, earns the city around $2 to $3 a ton. Second, things could change. There is more sophisticated equipment available that results in better sorting, less contamination, and higher quality glass with less residue, and there is a market for that. In fact, Ms. Hardagree points out that, “Georgia has plentiful markets for recovered glass, with two bottle-to-bottle and three fiberglass manufacturing operations in the state.” Such equipment is expensive, of course, so it’s not clear when, or if, it will be installed or who would pay for it. Still, the possibility remains that the city will recycle glass in the future. Finally, maintaining a steady stream of material through the MRF helps support jobs there.

But if want your glass to be properly recycled right now, there is something you can do. Gather your cleaned, food-grade glass jars and bottles and drop them off at a recycling center. The Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) is a permanent facility located at 1110 Hill Street SE (www.livethrive.org/charm). Keep Atlanta Beautiful (www.keepatlantabeautiful.org) has two drop-off locations (in Buckhead, behind Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church on the first Saturday of each month, and in the Old Fourth Ward, at 320 Irwin Street on the second Saturday of each month). There may soon be even more convenient options available, however, as the city is exploring expanded drop off locations.

So when it comes to glass, the options are clear: the worst choice is to put glass in the trash. It’s better to put it in the recycling bin, but best to take it to a recycling facility, as Tom Jung and Alex Wan do.

For more information about the big business of recycling in Georgia, watch the video Made in Georgia. Visit www.georgiarecycles.org, and choose “Made in Georgia” from the “Georgia Recycles” drop down menu.

Bill Payment Amnesty Program to Assist Water & Sewer Customers

water billCity of Atlanta residents pay among the highest water and sewer bills in the nation, and at times, this can create a financial burden. In an effort to provide assistance to customers facing disconnection due to outstanding balances, the Department of Watershed Management will implement an Amnesty Program during the month of March, allowing both commercial and residential customers the opportunity to enter into payment plans to help settle their accounts without facing penalties.

During the amnesty period, which lasts March 1 - 31, customers with balances exceeding $500 must pay 20 percent of their balance prior to entering into a flexible payment agreement. Also late fees and assessments will be waived during the amnesty period.

Eligible customers may call ATL 311 (404-546-0311) to establish a payment plan. Watershed Management staff also will be available between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at 2 City Plaza (72 Marietta St.) on the dates listed to assist walk-in customers.

  • Wednesday, March 1 and Thursday, March 2
  • Monday, March 6 and Tuesday, March 7
  • Monday, March 13 and Tuesday, March 14
  • Monday, March 20 and Tuesday, March 21
  • Monday, March 27 and Tuesday, March 28
2 City Plaza is conveniently located near the Five Points MARTA Station. Exit the Five Points Station onto Forsyth Street and turn right. Walk northeast on Forsyth Street and turn left onto Marietta Street. Walk one block to Fairlie Street. After crossing Fairlie Street, 2 City Plaza is on the left. Please note there is no public parking at this location; however metered parking is available in the immediate vicinity.
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