Decatur Budget: Goals For the Coming Fiscal Year – Part 2

budget decatur coverOnto the city’s goals for the coming year under Principle B: Encourage a Diverse and Engaged Community, from this year’s Budget Narrative document

  • Lifelong Community Advisory Board to coordinate the first annual “Community Connection” event (Task 5A, Task 5E, Task 6B, Task 7B)
  • Support and expand current Lifelong Community Programs, such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project, A Season of Giving/Christmas Decatur, and GO60+ Shuttle for residents aged 60 and older through partnerships between city departments, nonprofit organizations, neighborhood groups, and businesses (Task 5A, Task 5E, Task 6B, Task 7A)
  • Develop a new Smart Phone App for visitors and residents to obtain information about shops, restaurants and the arts (Task 8D)
  • Upgrade equipment for streaming video of City Commission meetings (Task 6A)
  • Expand Open City Hall to include crowdsourcing and the ability to gather ideas on a variety of topics (Task 6A)
  • Extend the “Celebrate the Arts” campaign (Task 8A and Task 8C)

17 thoughts on “Decatur Budget: Goals For the Coming Fiscal Year – Part 2”

  1. i’d like to propose we hold our horses for a cotton pickin minute, and give serious consideration to a concept i’ll call “Zero Goals/Zero Change”.

    more detail soon . . .

    1. I’ll only tolerate this complete mischaracterization of anything I’ve said in the interest of comedy.

  2. I’d like to know the City’s plans for providing lubrication on railroad tracks so that MARTA buses no longer get stuck.

  3. Did not have a whole lot of time to devote to this but three things caught my attention:
    1. “Using a grant from FEMA, the Fire Department expanded their hazard prevention and education practices by installing 2,150 smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in 250 homes.” Now some of you dang geniuses are better at math than I am but does this mean that the fire department installed almost nine smoke and gas detectors in each of the 250 homes? If so, seems kind of excessive. How many detectors does a house need?
    2. “Goal 5 – Maintain and encourage diversity of race, ethnicity, income, culture, age, family type and other kinds of diversity.” Please think about this goal. Recently our government enacted policies affecting single-family zoning areas that would allow homeowners to build rental cottages and the development of a large scale apartment/commercial district. . Both of these policy changes were based on a goal from the strategic plan, such as the one stated above. So I ask you, if our government can make these building policies, what kinds of rules will it make to promote Goal 5? For example, “Maintain and encourage diversity of race… Income… and other types of diversity (whatever the hell the last phrase means. How many kinds of diversity are there?). Does this mean that, if a homeowner builds a cottage for their aging parents, and the parents decide for whatever reason not to move in, that the city can tell the property owner that the cottage can only be rented to a member of a protected group? Kinda scary isn’t it or is it just me who believes that these goals really are a license for government to expand and regulate.
    3. “Launch a green restaurant certification program (Task 13C)”. I guess they call it “Green” because it wall cost our restaurants green bucks to implement (just a little humor. And I do mean a little).
    So as I stated earlier, not much attention given to this. I have a dog to wash, house to clean, dishes to wash, grass to cut, mosquitoes to swat (and yelling, “Got another terrorist!”), and assorted chores that most of us do instead of studying budget do-do. I usually expect my partner to do these things but since she is out of town, I must get to work. But my hope that at least one commissioner, and maybe a few Tea Party conservatives from the Great Lakes neighborhood (“Great Lakes- Where Decatur Conservatives Fume”) will give these items and others serious attention.
    Special thanks to my son, a recent graduate of Georgia (perimeter) University, who helped me do the math.

    1. I won’t get into the city priorities or where they originated but one clarification should be made: The changes Decatur has made to its zoning over time have been an expansion of property rights, not a restriction. In terms of downtown, property owners now have near-total flexibility to meet the market, wherever it might be — office, retail, condo, apartments, etc. And backyard accessory cottages and apartments used to be tightly regulated and those restrictions have been relaxed, offering single family homeowners more options as well.

      In fact, in most surrounding areas (Atlanta among them), accessory cottages and apartments remain illegal. So consider me on record as appreciating Decatur as a place that values liberty in practice instead of just talking about it.

      1. Only a very, very confused conservative like Mr. B would interpret the City’s expansion of property rights as an example of big government run amok.

      2. I don’t think he has a problem with the zoning change, just the reasoning behind it. But hey, why dig below the surface when there exists an opportunity to take a jab at conservatives!

        1. Except that I was defending conservative principles in action, so I don’t know how ideologically jabby it was.

  4. I’m with Chris B. on his concern about the city government being tasked with social engineering. You look at some other threads here lately and some people want to impose their values about “how much house is too much” on others. And some comments about how this town is changing because it’s attracting some “others”.

    Many of these same people would object to government being used to impose someone else’s values on them, or to overtly exclude certain social classes from the community. I would hope everyone could step back and question whether we really want to empower our government to get involved in this kind of stuff.

    1. The reason the town is changing is because it is attracting people who want to impose their values on the community that is already here. How do you handle that? Those people have no more right to do that. And of course the community can say how much house is too much. It is called a building code. You don’t buy in John’s Creek if the house sizes and values don’t reflect your own unless you are willing to tolerate the house sizes and values that are already there. Why is Decatur any different?

      1. Can you give me an example of the values that these newcomers are trying to impose on the community? I’m talking about polices or ordinances that these newcomers are trying to push on the community, because outside of that it’s just people exercising their freedom to be who they are.

        1. And I will shock you by saying I know I am being reactive and overreacting. Change is hard.I am reacting from emotion and not logic. That is my fault.

          1. I applaud you for recognizing and admitting this. I’m not as long-termed as you are (15 years) but I completely understand your feelings.

            There have been a great many positive changes to the city in that time but, like you, I am less enthusiastic about other things I’m seeing. But that’s the nature of change and I sometimes have to remind myself to move past my emotional reactions to that change.

            Oh, those Arlene Dean homes. Sigh. 🙂

  5. “it’s just people exercising their freedom to be who they are”

    And that’s exactly what rankles Decatur’s sizeable population of latent authoritarians.

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