Reminder: “Folks To Give” Comedy Show Is This Thursday at Town Cinema

Laugh it up and support a good cause this Thursday!  Deets from Decaturish

Decaturish and Towne Cinema’s comedy charity show will be held this Thursday, May 25, at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. All proceeds will benefit CARE, which is headquartered in Atlanta and is committed to fighting global poverty. Time, talent and space are being donated so all proceeds can go directly to this charity.

Tickets are $20 for general admission and $35 for VIP. The VIP ticket holders will get front row seats and two free beers. To buy tickets, click here. Tickets will also be available at the door.

The show will feature a special edition of “Atlanta Explained,” a show that mixes news with improv comedy. There will also be sketch comedy performed by the Flying Giants comedy team.

Check out the line up of confirmed performers HERE!

Decaturish Hosting Comedy Show at Avondale Town Cinema on May 25th That Supports CARE

From the good folks at Decaturish

Decaturish.com is teaming up with Avondale Estates’ Towne Cinema, “Atlanta Explained” and Flying Giants to present “Folks to Give,” a charity comedy show benefiting CARE.

CARE is headquartered in Atlanta and is committed to fighting global poverty. Towne Cinema has graciously donated the space to us for the evening so that all proceeds from the event will go to CARE.

“Folks to Give” will be at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 25. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $35 for VIP. The VIP ticket holders will get front row seats. To buy tickets, click here.

The show will feature a special edition of “Atlanta Explained,” a show that mixes news with improv comedy. There will also be sketch comedy performed by the Flying Giants comedy team.

The Flying Giants team includes our good friend Jared van Aalten who played an important role in starting Decaturish. His recent show, “The Internet is Trying to Kill You” was hilarious and played to a packed room.

Hodgson’s “Atlanta Explained” show is a unique take on how we consume news. People might remember Hodgson for his work on The Atlanta Banana, the ATL’s homegrown news parody website. The stories you’ll hear on “Atlanta Explained” are real, just funnier.

“Folks to Give” will be night of comedy that’s irreverent and timely. Please join us on May 25. It’ll be fun.

Dairy Queen Set To Sign Lease at Trinity Triangle (aka “Arlo”)

jhp_trinitytriangle_v01_dusk

Busy day on the retail front!

Decaturish is reporting that Dairy Queen is set to sign a lease at the under-construction Trinity Triangle development in the coming weeks.  The fate of the Momin family’s franchise has been in question since the stand alone location was closed and demolished last year.

Also of note from the Decaturish post – apparently the Trinity Triangle development has a new name – “Arlo”.  You can check out Arlo yourself on the Centro Development website.

Rendering courtesy of ColeJenest & Stone

Fmr Atlanta COO: Don’t Fret About Decatur’s Debt Cap, Debate the Tax Increase

A recent op-ed on Decaturish by Former Atlanta COO and Decatur resident Hans Utz recently got some appreciation in FFAF regarding its explanation of the city’s debt cap.  As such, it seemed a good article to highlight and discuss here, since we so enjoy discussions that involve such thrilling topics as debt and enrollment figures.

In short, it helps spell out…

  • Why city debt is necessary – to spread the cost of projects out over time so future residents also get to pay in
  • The different forms of Decatur’s debt
    • The city’s revenue bonds – taken out against non-property tax forms of revenue
    • CSD’s certificates of participation – “like a homeowner taking out a second mortgage”
    • “GO bonds” – which are borrowed against property taxes
  • Which forms of debt apply to the “Constitutional Debt Cap” of $137 million – only the Go Bonds
  • Where Decatur would stand if it were to borrow the full $82 million in Go Bonds to build new/larger schools
    • Watch these mathrobatics – The city currently has borrowed $31 million and CSD has borrowed $5 million in Go Bonds, so add the requested $82+ the current $36 = $118 million.  And what was that limit again?  $137 million?  So $137 – $118 = $19 million!

Is that $19 million gap risky?  Mr. Utz’s states…

Incidentally, the constitutional debt limit is itself a conservative ceiling meant to prevent fiscally weak or irresponsible municipalities from overextending themselves.  Decatur is neither.

Ultimately, Mr. Utz’s argues that Decatur shouldn’t be all that worried about its debt cap with this bond proposal and that the major concern should be the very real increase to taxes as a result of the bond – he calculates it as a 7% increase on Decatur property taxes.

He concludes…

So are we in a bad place with debt?  No, not at all.  Not even a little bit.  Not even if the schools do get an additional $82 million in capital.  We should stay vigilant, of course, but we are operating well within our capacity.

The question is whether we think the schools need the capital sufficiently enough for us to willingly to increase our overall property tax by 7 percent.  That is a big conversation that we must have as a community.

Oh how nice it would be if we still had the old Ponce de Leon School on West Ponce.  (Hence the random-ish Ponce de Leon School photo courtesy of Ponce de Leon Elementary Facebook page  🙂 )

Looking To Build More Schools, Decatur is Quickly Reaching Its Debt Limit

It’s looking less and less likely that the City Schools of Decatur can build its way out of its enrollment-growth problem.

Anyone who has an opinion, voiced or unvoiced, regarding the City Schools enrollment issue needs to read this just-released Decaturish report from last night’s School Board meeting regarding how Decatur is rapidly reaching its debt limit.

A few snippets to whet your appetite.  It shouldn’t take much…

As the School Board sat in the new municipal center on Feb. 10, they saw the city approaching [the debt] limit. The School Board needs to issue even more debt to expand its current facilities. Decatur’s constitutional debt limit is 10 percent of the assessed value of its current tax digest, according to Dianne McNabb with Public Financial Management, an advisor for CSD.

At the end of the School Board meeting, board members unanimously decided they’d ask the Decatur City Commission to put an $82 million bond referendum on the ballot this year. But that would only allow the school system to build out its facilities to accommodate about 90 percent of its enrollment projections.

And that money ain’t free either.  Decatur homeowners, please read on…

A bond issue would have to be approved by the voters. Taxpayers would have willingly increase their own millage rate by 4.84 mills if the city borrows $82 million for its schools. For a $300,000 home, that’s $726.51 in additional taxes per year, starting in 2017. For a $700,000 home, that’s an additional $1,695 in taxes.

There are other options to building that have been mentioned here before and are starting to get mentioned by Superintendent Edwards .  Year-round schooling or split-shifts would split kids up into terms/groups that go to school in different cycles (be it weeks or times of day) allowing for greater utilization of existing buildings.  This hasn’t been a popular option in the past, but all of the “better” options are beginning to look quite concerning in the light of day.

It seems like its time to put ALL options out on the table and work this thing out.  Congenially, of course.

Train Operator Who Hit MARTA Bus Seeking $1 Million in Damages

Decaturish is reporting this morning that a CSX train operator who hit a MARTA bus stuck on the tracks back in May 2013 has filed a lawsuit seeking $1 million in damages.

The lawsuit argues that the steep grade of the intersection was a known safety hazard, noting that a collision occurred at that intersection 3 months prior to the MARTA bus accident.

CSX, the City of Decatur, MARTA and GDOT are all listed as defendants in the suit, which is posted in full on Decaturish.

City Manager Peggy Merriss told Decaturish, ““The litigation should have no effect on the North McDonough Streetscapes project or the South Candler/South McDonough/Howard railroad crossing project either,”.

Improving that intersection has long been a goal of Decatur’s 2008 Transportation Plan.  The city held a public input meeting on improvements back in 2013, however getting design approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation usually takes years and there haven’t been any public statements about the status of this project lately.

Photo of 2013 incident courtesy of Lee

A Closer Look at the North McDonough Road Project – Begins in June 2015

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Included in a report from Decaturish late last week – about the North McDonough Streetscape Improvements and how it relates to renovating Decatur High Schoo – was this nugget…

The streetscape project will begin in June of 2015 and will last for 12 months. The city will shrink the road from four lanes to two in order to make it friendlier for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Upon request, Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon provided DM with a digital version (PDF) of the most recent streetscape plan so that everyone can get a closer look what North McDonough will eventually look like once the project is completed.

Click the PDF link above or the photo to view the plans up close.