Atlanta City Council approves COVID-19 grant, calls for ban on no-knock warrants; Moore makes statement on crime

The Atlanta City Council approved legislation during its Sept. 8 virtual meeting authorizing the City of Atlanta’s Department of Grants and Community Development to apply for and accept a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce in the amount of $836,000 to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Grants and Community Development will partner with Invest Atlanta to implement the grant to help support small businesses. The funds are part of the Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Supplemental EDA Award for Revolving Loan Funds to help communities across the country respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The council also approved legislation urging Georgia’s General Assembly to review and revise its statutes to ban the use of no-knock warrants.

Other items approved Tuesday include:

• An ordinance to adopt the Atlanta Public School millage rate and change the Special Tax District (Library) Levy rate.

• A resolution requesting the Office of Innovation Delivery and Performance work with the Atlanta Department of Transportation to prepare a multi-year payment plan to holistically and responsibly pay down the City’s sidewalk repair backlog and fund new construction.

• A resolution authorizing the mayor to submit the City of Atlanta’s Citizens Participation Plan 2020-2024 Consolidated Plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

• An ordinance to amend the City’s Code of Ordinances so as to authorize the delivery of alcoholic beverages by the package beyond the boundaries of licensed premises in accordance with state law.

• A resolution to accept and adopt the “One Atlanta: Economic Mobility, Recovery and Resilience Plan” submitted by Invest Atlanta. The plan aims to provide a strategic foundation with clear objectives for using economic and workforce development resources to address inequality.

The council also immediately adopted a resolution urging the United States Senate to appropriate funds to sustain the U.S. Postal Service and to ensure the Postal Service continues to function as a universal public service.

Several items were introduced that will be considered in committee next week, including:

• An ordinance to amend the 1982 Atlanta Zoning Ordinance to prohibit short-term rentals in residential districts.

• An ordinance to amend the City’s Code of Ordinances to require apprenticeship documentation for all construction projects in the city over $1 million as part of the bid security for construction projects and requesting the City’s chief operating officer to develop an apprenticeship program.

• A resolution approving a deployment plan for the Equitable Growth Grant Program focused on the creation and attraction of high-quality, middle-wage jobs.

•  A resolution calling on the Development Authority of Fulton County to cease acting as issuer for lease purchase taxable revenue bonds within Atlanta’s city limits.

• A resolution urging the federal government to pass legislation to provide universal, comprehensive healthcare coverage with zero cost-sharing for patients during public health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and calling on federal legislators to work toward the immediate enactment of legislation that will ensure appropriate healthcare coverage for all residents of the United States.

• A resolution to urge the Georgia General Assembly to enact legislation to adopt ranked choice voting for all elections and/or permit counties and municipalities to make use of ranked choice voting in local elections.

• A resolution requesting the Atlanta Department of Transportation partner with the City’s Office of Innovation Delivery and Performance to develop a funding plan that provides for the City to annually invest in its road infrastructure at a rate equal to the replacement cycle for all of the City’s streets and roads.

Before the meeting, Council President Felicia A. Moore released the following statement regarding crime activity during the Labor Day weekend:

“This Labor Day weekend, I spent time monitoring social media, indirectly observing the activities of our public safety personnel, and fielding concerns of stakeholders throughout the city. I would like to commend our police, fire, medical units, dispatch, corrections department and other personnel who labored this weekend in an effort to preserve public safety. These men and women put in countless hours responding to street car racers, off road vehicles, protests, parties, noise complaints, nightclub concerns, and the aftermath of violent crimes.

All of these activities took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social media platforms are flooded with videos and images of hundreds of people indoors and outdoors with no masks and no social distancing. Many of those pictured appeared to be in the 18-29 years old age range, which is the group seeing the sharpest increase in COVID-19 cases. Additionally, for the Black community which has been disproportionately affected during this pandemic, it was startling to witness our youth engaging in behaviors which may ultimately affect the health of their more vulnerable family members.

I encourage all of our youth and others who didn’t follow COVID-19 precautions this weekend to self-quarantine and get tested. Collectively, we all have a role to play in keeping our beloved community safe and healthy.

The time has come for us to put our heads together as a city to address the myriad of public safety issues plaguing our neighborhoods and business corridors. Resources are limited, but we must collaborate with our other intergovernmental partners to devise immediate solutions.”

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