Published on November 17th, 2015 |1
Mayor, City Council seek to assure funding of Moores Mill Rd. project
Monday was best described as an interesting day for the Atlanta City Council regarding its encounter with Mayor Kasim Reed over the funding of the extension of Moores Mill Road in northwest
Atlanta to facilitate the $100 million redevelopment of Moores Mill Shopping Center.
Dist. 9 City Councilwoman Felicia Moore reported early in the day on a briefing Monday morning from Mayor Reed. She said the mayor stated, “He met last week with ARC (Atlanta Regional Commission) regarding funding for Moores Mill Road and other projects, and he has confirmed that $2.2 million for the project will be available the first quarter of 2016.”
According to the report by Councilwoman Moore, the mayor reported: “The money is at the ARC. Leaving the $800K in Transportation Impact Fees in place can risk the $2.2 million, which may be redirected to other projects”
Finally, Moore told BuckheadView, he said his staff was drafting legislation for introduction at Monday’s City Council meeting.
“I, as well as other members, asked for something in writing in this regard,” Moore reported. “He stated he will provide it by Council meeting.”
Moore also told BuckheadView, “We (me and the mayor) agreed that legislation can be drafted to give a time certain for federal funds and/or the use of Impact Fees. I will await to see these documents and will determine if I need to make a motion to override the veto (if the votes are available to do so),” she added.
That happened before the end of the day Monday. At the end of Monday’s Council meeting, legislation was co-sponsored by Moore, Yolanda Adrean, Mary Norwood and Andre Dickens. This legislation will provide for the $800,000 in Transportation Impact Fees to be a backstop in the event that Federal Funds are not utilized by the first quarter of 2016.
The Transportation Impact Fee backstop legislation will go to the Finance Executive Committee on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. and then on to full Council on Monday, Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. in the Council Chamber on the 2nd floor of City Hall. “I do not anticipate any problems with its passage because it is being done in agreement with the Mayor,” Moore told BuckheadView.
“I will be working with Edens, Public Works, Invest Atlanta and others to ensure that the use of federal funds allows the development and road construction to occur in a timely manner,” Moore added.
In an email to constituents earlier on Monday, Moore wrote, “I did not make a motion to override the mayor’s veto of 15-O-1490 because: There was not enough votes to
override (and) Legislation is being introduced today (Monday) to accept federal funds.”
Moore added in her email, “I will now need to get into the weeds to ensure that the use of the federal funds in no way impacts the schedule for the development.”
The actions between the mayor and City Council on Monday may well have been influenced by hundreds of emails sent by angry Atlanta residents to the mayor and to several members of City Council last week following the mayor’s veto of the City Council legislation authorizing use of $800,000 in city transportation impact fees for the Moores Mill Road extension project.
Added to that was a letter from the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, which represents 26 Buckhead neighborhoods, urging City Council members to vote to override the mayor’s veto, “or alternatively, to pass enabling legislation that insures the impact fees act as a backstop in the event that federal funding is delayed or does not materialize.”
Representatives of the Council of Neighborhoods voted at their meeting Nov. 12 to send the letter after hearing about the mayor’s veto and from Council members Yolanda Adrean and Mary Norwood about the hundreds of emails each had received opposing the mayor’s veto.
The letter asked that the impact fees backstop be used if federal funds are not available by early January 2016 when South Carolina developer Edens Company wants to begin demolition work to prepare for redevelopment of the Moores Mill Shopping Center.
The BCN letter concluded: “This project has languished for over a decade. Some of these delays were out of your control, but not it is completely within your control,” meaning City Council. “We are asking that you remove any doubt as to further delays.
“This is a city project that will benefit thousands of city residents and create millions of dollars in tax receipts and economic development. It is time to take control of this city’s destiny rather than leave it to politicians in Washington, D.C.,” the letter added.
Still troubling to many who have been following this issue closely is that the mayor in his communications with City Council and the legislation presented Monday by the administration only refer to the funds for the project having been “authorized”. At no time is the term “allocated” used in relation to the funding activity. [