Atlanta City Council approves grant program to attract ‘high-quality, middle-wage’ jobs

The Atlanta City Council adopted legislation on Oct. 5 to approve a deployment plan for the Equitable Growth Grant Program that focuses on the creation and attraction of high-quality, middle-wage jobs. The plan is centered on projects that are considered a high public benefit for all Atlantans, including hiring disadvantaged residents who are unemployed or in low-wage jobs. As part of a budget amendment adopted this year, the Fiscal Year 2021 budget includes $1.6 million for Invest Atlanta to begin the grant program.

The Council also adopted legislation urging the Georgia General Assembly to adopt House Bill 1203 to amend state law to prohibit arrests by private citizens or other authorities not identified as a peace officer. The House bill was introduced following the death of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old Black man, who was pursued by two white men and fatally shot while jogging near Brunswick. Arbery’s killing and the arrests of the suspects sparked debates about racial inequality and calls to repeal the state’s citizen’s arrest law. The Council’s resolution notes it is incumbent on the state legislature to support laws that serve to expand and protect all human and civil rights.

Other items approved Monday include:

• An ordinance to amend the City’s code to allow tenants to have the choice of providing rental security insurance and installment payments as an alternative to traditional security deposits in residential rental agreements, while ensuring that landlords are reasonably protected against damages and unpaid rent.

• A resolution supporting the establishment of a comprehensive food truck program in Atlanta. Companion legislation is expected to be forthcoming from the Department of City Planning to govern the regulations of food trucks operating on public property. Following the submission of legislation for consideration by the Council, a written notice of the proposed food truck legislation will be provided to each Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) for review and a public hearing will be conducted by the Council’s Public Safety and Legal Administration Committee.

• A resolution to express support for Georgia House Resolution 164, which allows voters to authorize the Georgia legislature to pass legislation establishing special funds with dedicated revenue sources to fund statute specific projects. House Resolution 164 was approved by the General Assembly and signed by the governor in August.

• A resolution requesting the Department of City Planning Commissioner conduct a study of the feasibility of allowing all NPUs to continue allowing virtual meeting attendance when the City of Atlanta reopens and resumes normal operations.

• A resolution authorizing the Council President and Atlanta City Council members use of the City’s mass notification system for the purposes of notifying constituents of information important to the community.

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

• A resolution to establish a task force to determine an appropriate manner in which to honor esteemed residents of Southwest Atlanta Hank Aaron, John Lewis, Joseph E. Lowery, Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, and Andrew Young for being recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

• A resolution urging Georgia’s governor and the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety to reconsider conducting high speed pursuits within the jurisdictional boundaries of Atlanta.

• A resolution urging the Georgia General Assembly to adopt legislation which would impose additional standards by which state, county and local law enforcement agencies are authorized to engage in vehicular pursuits.

• A resolution urging the Georgia General Assembly to enact House Resolution 5309, commonly known as “The Crown Act of 2020,” which amends state law to prohibit discrimination in employment against natural or protective hairstyles.

• A resolution accepting the mayor’s Police Use of Force Advisory Council “Final 45-Day Report and Strategic Recommendations” and to establish a process for conducting a series of City Council work sessions to review, discuss and establish a timeline for implementation of the proposed recommendations put forth by the Advisory Council.

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