Mayoral Candidates’ Statements on Property Tax Increase

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Today, the City Council of Atlanta narrowly approved a property tax increase proposed by Mayor Shirley Franklin.

Mayoral candidate Mary Norwood voted against the increase, as she said she would do.  Others who voted no include Kwanza Hall, Clair Muller, Mary Norwood, Howard Shook, Cleta Winslow, and Lamar Willis.

Ceasar Mitchell, who’s running for Council President, voted yes.

“Council member Mary Norwood’s decision to oppose the budget signals… a strong indicator of her being a ‘politics-before-people’ elected official,” Jesse Spikes said.

“Mary Norwood consistently speaks of the need to end police and firefighter furloughs, yet her recent vote against the budget makes one question her true intent.  She mentions the need to look more into how the city’s money is being spent, yet for some reason, she hasn’t spent her previous eight years on the City Council doing just that? We need strong leadership at City Hall,” Spikes said.

Glenn Thomas, on the other hand, said he disagreed with the property tax increase.

“In the midst of citizens losing homes, losing jobs, and trying to keep their families safe this action [by Council] is irresponsible to say the least.  This vote approval, unfortunately, does not come as a surprise to me; as a former city employee I have witnessed first-hand the lack of fiscal responsibility and oversight at city hall and today council and the administration has proven that city taxpayers cannot trust many our current leadership,” Thomas said.

“This property tax increase is not due solely to the economy; this increase is due to a lack of accountability and a misplaced responsibility to citizens.  I am appalled with the mismanagement and disorganization that is prevailing at city hall, and a deficit continuing to grow upwards of $60 million. These mis-steps by the administration have resulted in over 700 lay-offs and the furloughing of civilian and public safety employees,” Thomas said.

State Sen. Kasim Reed, meanwhile, supported a property tax increase of 1 mill, as opposed to the Mayor’s proposed 3 mills.  He seemed to support the vote to approve, pointing to petitions he said he’s collected from 5000 Atlantans saying they want the police furloughs ended.

“Today, the Atlanta City Council took a first and necessary step toward improving public safety.  This budget should put an immediate end to the police and fire furloughs across the city,” Reed said.

“While I believe that we could have bridged the budget gap with a 1 mill increase, I urge the Council to show fiscal discipline and prudence as we begin the process of rebuilding the city finances and repairing the damage to our sense of community.”

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