Mayor Shirley Franklin relieved over passage of budget, tax increase

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin deflected credit or congratulations on getting both a 3 mills property tax increase and the 2010 fiscal year budget passed by the Atlanta City Council today.

“It’s good for the city,” said Franklin in a wide-ranging phone interview this afternoon. “It’s our job to do what’s best for the city longterm.”

Had the budget and property tax increase not passed, the mayor said the city would have had to continue furloughs of employees, and it would have had to drastically reduce funding for parks and public works.

Because the city has already cut $125 million out of its budget, Franklin said the city has been operating in a skeletal form.

The city still faces other major budget issues, such as fulfilling its pension obligations to retired employees. the mayor and council are seeking outside expertise to understand the city’s option when it comes to the pensions for new employees.

The passing of the budget and the property tax increase will give the mayor a bit of breather for her last seven months in office.

But Franklin said that was not the way she looked at it.

“This was a tough year for the city, and we will end this fiscal year in the black,” she said. “It’s been the hardest year with the financial crisis.”

Most of the city’s financial issues (but she quickly added that not all) are a result of external factors — the economy with a drop in sales taxes and property values. Not only will the fiscal year that ends tomorrow be in the black, but the new budget for 2010 also is projected to at least break even.

“There are predictions that we will be out of a recession in 2010 and that governments will see a turnaround in revenue in 2011,” Franklin said.

Either way, a new mayor will be in office.

As one observer, who prefers to not be quoted publicly, said: “The next mayor should thank Shirley Franklin for what happened today.”

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

4 replies
  1. yelloledbedder says:

    They mis-run, mis-appropriate and just flat out run the city of Atlanta in the ground, and now the property owners are being punished and made to “bail out” these politicians.
    No one should be congratulating anybody on raising property taxes when property values have declined!Report

  2. atlantaresident says:

    I live in the city of Atlanta. It is incredibly poorly run. The streets are filthy, the traffic lights melted to the bulbs, and the roads worse than rural Africa in most spots. End the furloughs – impose 10% pay reductions for employees – just like I have encountered in private industry. Freeze the pension plan and close to all new hires – just like private industry. Used to be government workers got low salaries and good pensions – now they get exorbitant salaries and are the only people with pensions. I’m tired of paying for this. The city should be run like a business.Report

  3. Will Curry says:

    I love this city- warts and all. My suggestion for those that do nothing but complain and whine is to stop your bellyaching and be a part of the solution. Get involved. Be vigilant. Watch channel 26. Talk to your councilperson. And remember that things are never as simple as they may seem. It’s tough running a city. From the sanitation workers to the office worker to the council and mayor- I take my hat off to you! Sure we had some bumps in the road but that’s what make the journey exciting.

    Let’s just make the necessary corrections and move forward, PLEASE.Report

  4. Deanna Rawls says:

    Hi Mayor Franklin my name is Deanna Rawls I am in the twelfth grade and I hope to be attending Emory Univ I need a letter of recommendation from you to send to these various colleges i hope to attend …my number is 678 698 4047 or 678 589 5018 my address is 2929 Landrum Dr #E28 Atlanta, Ga 30311…please help me and write a encouragin letter letting the colleges know that i would be a great access to their institution…i have a 3.3 average and i attend Benjamin E. Mayes High school…thank you in advanceReport


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