Decatur 17-18 Budget Narrative Now Online!

Not only does the City of Decatur put together a wonky, official budget each year and post it online.  They also compile an easy to read Budget Narrative for all us lay people to flip through at our convenience.   So take advantage!

I always like to read through the city’s bulleted lists of project, programs and policies for the coming fiscal year.  So I’ve ripped them from the document and included them below for your convenience. The city separates them into the five principles from the strategic plan:

Principle A: Manage Growth While Retaining Character

  • Additional bicycle racks, holiday decorations, trash and recycling bins, dog waste stations, benches, seasonal plantings (Tasks 1D and 1F)
  • New Walk There signs (Task 1D)
  • Tree well, MARTA plaza, crosswalk, informational kiosk maintenance (Task 1D)
  • Maintenance of online business license renewals (Task 2A)
  • Adopt a mobile food facility ordinance (Task 2D)
  • Scottish Rite Sign Program (Task 4B)

Principle B: Encourage a Diverse and Engaged Community

  • Better Together Advisory Board will engage the community to fulfill the Community Action Plan (Tasks 5B and 5C)
  • Engage neighborhood leaders through the Decatur Neighborhood Alliance and the Lifelong Community Decatur Neighbors committee to encourage support between neighbors and between neighborhoods to provide community support (Tasks 5A, 5E, 6B, 7A, 7B, 7D)
  • Continue to develop leadership skills and engage members of the new Decatur Youth Council as they learn about city government and our community and provide feedback on how to best meet their need (Task 7E)
  • Continue to provide Open Office Hour live streaming video of City Commission members discussing topics of community interest and answering viewers’ questions live via social media, email or telephone (Task 6A)
  • Implement the Foresight Augmented Reality (FAR) app to help the blind and visually impaired to navigate their way to Decatur’s shops, restaurants, and businesses (Tasks 5C, 6A, 8D)
  • Explore inclusion of universal design/visibility guidelines (Task 5F)

Principle C: Serve as Good Stewards of the Environment and Community Resources

  • Redevelopment of the Callaway Building and the Avondale transit oriented development will begin to come on line (Tasks 9C and 9D)
  • Re-opening of the indoor pool at the Boys & Girls Club as a shared use facility (Tasks 11A and 16D)
  • Completion of a Comprehensive Open Space and Shared Facilities Masterplan among community organizations, City Schools of Decatur and the City of Decatur (Tasks 10A, 11A and 16F)
  • Installation of electronic fuel tracking and maintenance logging devices on city vehicles (Task 12A)
  • Complete the multi-year energy conservation audit for city facilities to update sustainability policies for facilities (Tasks 10A and 12E)
  • Update the City’s existing Stormwater Masterplan (Task 13B)
  • Update the City’s existing Greenspace Masterplan (Task 13D)
  • Refine online applications and permitting in Children and Youth Services, Active Living and Design Environment and Construction divisions (Task 10A)
  • Complete improvements to the Barry Street/ downtown storm drainage project (Task 13B)

Principle D: Support a Safe, Healthy, Lifelong Community

  • Resurfacing of McKoy Pool and Oakhurst tennis courts (Goal 16)
  • Implementation of sidewalk improvements based on sidewalk assessment (Goal 14)
  • Improvements to bicycle and pedestrian facilities including expansion of cycle tracks, sidewalks and road diet on Howard Ave (Task 14A)
  • Upgrade and expand the Outdoor Tornado Warning Siren System (Goal 16)

Principle E: Provide the Necessary Support within City Government to Achieve the Vision and Goals of the Community

  • Expand employee wellness program to include activities to combat obesity and diabetes (Goal II)
  • Upgrade telephone system in city facilities (Goal III and VI) • Replace the fiber network connecting city facilities (Goal III and VI)
  • Purchase a training simulator for use by the Police and Fire departments (Goal III)
  • Deploy electronic invoicing and invoice work flow system through accounts payable software (Goal V)
  • Implement recommendations and best practices from cybersecurity risk assessment (Goal VI)
  • Develop and begin implementation of Decatur’s Smart City Initiative (Goal VI)

6 thoughts on “Decatur 17-18 Budget Narrative Now Online!”

  1. The “narrative” idea is indicative of the way this government operates. The narrative speaks to the activists, which is the only group the commission listens to in formulating its fiscal decisions. The commission and activists care more about Virtue Signaling than sound financial management of revenues and expenses. It is no way to run a railroad.

    The Commerce Street project is an absolute embarrassment of bad government. When everyone objective measure is telling you that it is a bad financial idea, why do you go forward with it? Because they want to “prove” the concept in spite of the empirical data.

    The tax bills are going to come out soon, and they will should have to defend these decisions. They should be held accountable.

    1. So I assume you always vote in city elections? That’s a good way to hold them accountable. Or, better yet, run yourself.

    2. I’d like to point out that there are not objective measures telling anyone that the Commerce Street protected bike lane project is “bad” financially, or by any other measure. As best I can tell the only measures labeling this project “bad” come from uninformed perceptions.

      Moderate – What empirical data says that this is a bad idea?

      1. You bring up an interesting issue: Has the city collected “before” data and will it collect “after” data for comparable times of day to evaluate how “good” or “bad” this project eventually is?

        For example, how many cyclists use Commerce now and how many after? How many vehicles travel Commerce now and how how many after? What is the average amount of time vehicles spend traveling from one significant intersection to another on Commerce now and what is the average after? What is the environmental quality (air pollution, noise level, etc.) for the area at peak travel periods both before and after?

        I’m sure others can think of additional ways to measure the success (goodness) or failure (badness) of the project, but will Decatur collect the data that would allow us to be informed in our perceptions and judge the success or failure of the project?

        1. I don’t disagree on data but it’ll be important to save the final assessment for when the project (which is not just this cycle track but a larger, connected network of bike routes and infrastructure) is fully complete. This particular project will get people from Chick-fil-A to McDonalds fairly well but the network, once in place, will connect people throughout the city with other networks beyond our borders while also providing safer routes for travel around town. That’ll be the point where we can get a true sense of just how many people are making different travel choices. Just as car dependent Atlanta wasn’t built with a single street, this infrastructure too will require some time to realize its potential.

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