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Fulton Board of Commissioners recap 'disastrous' legislative term
by Caroline Young
April 03, 2013 02:06 PM | 4418 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The first year of the biennial legislative cycle is complete, Fulton County legislative liaison Christopher Boyd said Wednesday at the Board of Commissioners meeting at Fulton County Government Center in downtown Atlanta.

Fulton government reform bills which passed include controversial House Bill 171, Boyd said, which is the redistricting bill to change the current commission district lines for the board, which would increase the number of seats and eliminate the second at-large seat.

House Bill 604 also passed, which adheres to the millage rate cap. Boyd said it would suspend the ability of the board of commissioners to raise the millage rate above the “revenue neutral roll-back” rate until Jan. 1, 2015.

“No resolutions were passed for the creation of Milton County in the Senate or House,” Boyd said.

He said the bills which did not pass will stay active for consideration in the next session.

And bills which were approved in one chamber only need to pass in the other chamber in 2014. For example, another controversial bill, HB 541, passed in the House but would need to pass in the Senate next year.

HB 541 is an alternative to HB 170, the bill which would have increased homestead exemption in Fulton County from $30,000 to $60,000 over two years, and put a cap on the millage rate.

HB 541 only pertains to homestead exemption, and would increase the rule to $60,000 over three years, instead of HB 170’s two years.

District 5 Commissioner Emma Darnell, who opposed HB 170, said the past legislative session was “disastrous.”

“No matter how dark it is for Fulton County taxpayers and residents, there’s always a light,” she said. “We had several lights shown during this General Assembly. … It is important to acknowledge the courage of the [Georgia] General Assembly, … who when given a choice between political expediency and doing what they thought was right, with respect to proper use and exercise of legislative authority, they chose at some risk to themselves do what was right.”

Other bills which carried over into the next session include HB 346, a bill to amend an act providing for the consolidation of the offices of tax receiver of Fulton County and tax collector of Fulton County into the office of tax commissioner of Fulton County.

In other news, the board voted 7-0 last week at its board meeting at Fulton County Government Center in downtown Atlanta, to approve the recommended proposal of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System’s request of $11.1 million with Brodart Co. of Williamsport, Pa., and Baker & Taylor Inc. of Charlotte, N.C., to provide opening-day book collections for the new and expanded branch libraries. It will be effective upon execution of the contract for a three-year term or until the book collections are complete.

The board also voted 7-0 to approve the request of recommended proposals by the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness for a comprehensive HIV prevention program, totaling $396,995. The program includes Empowerment Resource Center for Women Inc., Sisterlove Inc., AID Atlanta Inc. and Positive Impact Inc., and will be contracted through Dec. 31 with two renewal options.

Finally, the board voted 7-0 to approve the Public Defender’s Office’s request to award a contract without competition, in the amount of $26,000, with Thomas West Inc., to provide online legal research of WestlawNext and Clear Investigator.

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