irwin street market

Credit woes face Fulton County, Atlanta schools, after ruling on tax collections

Fulton County and the Atlanta school district face fiscal woes even though a judge has approved a temporary collection of property taxes. Their cost of borrowing could increase now that a bond rating house has cut the credit rating on one county debt and has placed a total of more than $500 million of county and Atlanta school debt under review for a possible credit downgrade in the future.

Fulton mayors meet

Fulton’s transportation stance nears consensus despite differences among mayors

Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves has been working for months to build consensus among all the mayors in his county on how to move forward with transportation funding.

At Tuesday’s meeting of Fulton’s mayors and county commissioners, the various political leaders moved a step closer to consensus – with the exception of Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle.

Fulton County to hire lobbyists as state seeks to control tax rate

Fulton County on Wednesday is slated to hire a team of lobbyists that includes a top Washington firm and two local Republican firms that have connections at the state Capitol. The annual fee would total $216,000, with a three-year renewal option.

The team at the state Capitol could help Fulton resolve disputes with top Republican lawmakers, who have sued the county over tax collections. The team would include a chief advisor to then Gov. Sonny Perdue, and a former leader of the state GOP who oversaw Republicans begin their take-over of state government in the 1990s.

In Washington, Fulton intends to hire Greenberg Traurig, an international law firm with a strong lobbying presence on Capitol Hill. The firm’s Atlanta office represents a state authority in the proposed sale of most of Fort McPherson to filmmaker Tyler Perry.

Fulton County, its cities face fiscal cliff of their own creation; Thursday deadline set by state attorney general

Fulton County and all the cities in it could fall off their own fiscal cliff on Thursday. Atlanta could lose tax revenues that pay for 19 percent of its current year budget.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed told the Atlanta City Council in a special session Wednesday evening that the future is uncertain for a major source of sales tax revenues shared by Fulton County and all its cities. Unless Atlanta signs an existing distribution agreement for the 1 percent local option sales tax, Fulton may not be able to continue to levy the tax, Reed said.

The urgency is arising because Atlanta’s lawyers evidently were unprepared for a ruling last week from the Georgia Supreme Court. In a case out of Turner County, in south Georgia, justices tossed out an arbitration process concerning LOST distribution formulas that Atlanta intended to use to seek a bigger bite of LOST revenues.

Comedy or tragedy? Fulton legislative meeting heralds new era in county politics, government, civic theater

The latest act in the civic theater that is Fulton County began Thursday in a crowded room on the fourth floor of Georgia’s Capitol.

Republican lawmakers sat quietly while an hour’s worth of speakers protested Republican proposals to change what has been the natural order of the county – at least, it was the natural order before Republicans took effective control of the county’s legislative delegation this year.

The chorus in this case could do little to relieve tension, but the 75 who gathered certainly helped establish the mood. There were few smiles among the crowd of lawyers and lobbyists, community advocates and union reps, preachers and seniors – many of whom are familiar faces at meetings of the county commission and Atlanta City Council.

Redistricting proposal for Fulton County creates three white, three black commission districts

A redistricting proposal for Fulton County’s board of commissioners would create three commission districts serving majority white populations in north Fulton, and three districts serving majority black populations in south Fulton. The seventh post, county chair, would be elected and serve countywide.

This plan is moving at a time Fulton County’s government appears to have no registered lobbyists to present its views at the Capitol. The county’s previous lobbyist, Michael Vaquer, who served six years, terminated representation Dec. 31, according to the state’s Government Transparency Commission.

An added wrinkle is that the redistricting proposal comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing a legal challenge to the constitutionality of a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that regulates the formation of districts. Georgia’s attorney general signed a brief urging the court to take up the case, from Shelby County, Ala.