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Published on February 25th, 2015 |

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Shook ‘frustrated’ with no project list as bond voting begins

Dist. 7 Atlanta City Councilman Howard Shook told the board of the Buckhead Community Improvement District Tuesday, “I find it extremely frustrating that there has been no project list” attached to the city’s $252 million infrastructure bond referendum, for which voting has started.

“There is no project list and (early) voting has begun,” Shook told the CID board. “Polls show it will pass overwhelmingly, which explains the mayor’s total serenity concerning the bond vote.”

City Councilman Howard Shook

Howard Shook

On March 17th, Atlanta citizens will get the chance to vote on a proposed $250 million bond aimed at funding infrastructure improvements and repairs throughout the city.
But Buckhead residents have the opportunity to vote early—between Feb. 28 and March 13—at the Chastain Park Recreation Center, 240 West Wieuca Road, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. All other early voting spots are outside of Buckhead.
Asked by CID board chairman David Allman if he is comfortable that the funds will be equitably distributed among the council districts in the city, Shook replied, “In my 13 years (at city hall), I have never seen a case where everyone is holding their cards so close to the vest.”

The perceived inference was that Mayor Kasim Reed and his administration may be using the project list as a bargaining tool to get passage of legislation through City Council that the administration wants adopted.

“I assume this will pass and the note will be paid off with (the city’s) savings, not a tax increase,” because Shook said it is important to Reed that no tax increase is necessary.

Acknowledging that there are some things on the basic city list of projects that voters can look at online, Shook explained that “leaves us with millions to spend.” He said he knows a lot will get done as a result of the bond issue, “but I can’t say what will get done in Buckhead.”

The Buckhead CID staff has presented to the city a list of Buckhead infrastructure projects as priorities to be funded through the bond issue, both through the part of the $252 million that is going to major projects of citywide impact and those for the pot that has been promised to each council district, the amount of which still has not been determined.

Shook told the CID board, “My plan is to use those fund for projects such as sidewalks.” He also said there are some 40 stormwater intakes that are not properly working and need to be fixed. He reported that the CID’s Project Manager Tony Peters is working with the city’s Watershed Management Department on those.

Shook praised Peters and the CID for the work they have done in identifying infrastructure items in need of inclusion in this repair and maintenance bond issue.

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    3 Responses to Shook ‘frustrated’ with no project list as bond voting begins

    1. theurbanryan says:

      A pretty decent project list has been posted (and mapped) at http://www.infrastructuremap.org for several months now. Clicking the “read more” link on that page takes you to more information, including an FAQ that addresses how this will all be funded. This was posted by City of Atlanta staff quite a while ago, apparently unbeknownst to this City Council member – it’s not that there’s “no project list” as Shook claims, but rather that he apparently hadn’t asked his staff for it before talking to this paper. Similar for his “assumption” that it will be paid with savings (it will, using savings from the City’s “Blue Ribbon Commission on Waste & Efficiency in Government” – hopefully he knows about that). If he doesn’t know what’s going to happen in Buckhead, he should probably go to the City’s map and click on the dots.

      • John Schaffner says:

        Dear Urbaryan:

        I suggest you open your eyes and clean out your ears. You claim there is a decent project list posted by the city for how the infrastructure bond money will be spent. At all of the bond information meetings, the city officials have made it very clear that the list posted on the city website IS NOT OFFICIAL and is fluid, changing almost daily. Furthermore, total up the costs of the items listed. They do not come close to the total bond funds that will be available. Then add into that calculation the fact that the city has never been straight forward with the public on any project–regarding cost or whether or not it is a priority and will be done–in the past three to four decades. I guess you can believe what you wish, but don’t ridicule Howard Shook on this issue, because you are a dead-wrong dreamer and he is an insider in the fight for information and accountability. Yes, there is a project, but it is like Tinkerbell’s pixie dust at this time, sprinkled around to influence the vote. Here is a fact he knows and you obviously do not: There is no official project list until the City Council votes and adopts the list. And, that vote will not take place until after the referendum on March 17. And, just think how much politics will be included in setting that final list with 12 District City Council members, three at-large City Council members and the mayor and his administration all in a political tug of war and dogfight. Wake up and smell the roses, this is Atlanta politics. But thanks for your comment, even though it may be off base this time.

    2. Pingback: Shook ‘frustrated’ with no project list as bond voting begins | Buckhead Community Improvement District

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