Although members of the Clayton County Legislative Delegation laid out a large agenda of items to discuss with Clayton residents, school board members and other attending the delegation’s meet-and-greet program Jan. 7 at the Clayton County Headquarters Library, the stadium remained one of the hot items for discussion.
More than 40 residents jammed the conference room at the Clayton County Headquarters Library to hear their state senate and house representatives highlight key issues, primary this year.
Hosted by the delegation’s chairperson and spokesperson, District 44 state Sen. Gail Davenport, D-Jonesboro, and vice chair, District 76 state Rep. Sandra Scott, D-Morrow, the panel included District 34 state Sen. Valencia Seay, D-Riverdale, District 77 state Rep. Darryl Jordan, D- Riverdale, District 63 state Rep. Ron Mabra, D-College Park, District 78 state Rep. Demetrius Douglas, D-Atlanta and District 75 state Rep. Mike Glanton, D-Jonesboro.
District 60 state Rep. Keisha Waites, D-Atlanta was not at the meeting due to another assignment.
According to Davenport, a new stadium, with a retractable roof, has been proposed to replace the existing Georgia Dome. The cost of the new stadium, Davenport said, would be more than $1 billion, most of which would be paid for by the Falcons organization.
However, $300 million of that would come from state funding generated by the hotel-motel tax which is already in effect, she said.
“To use that funding,” Davenport said, “lawmakers would have to authorize and increase in the debt limit for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority from $200 million to $300 million.”
Chuck Ware, a Clayton senior citizen, also wanted to know what Clayton lawmakers could do for area seniors, especially in regard to public transportation to doctor’s appointments and other needs.
If passed, last year’s transportation referendum would have returned public transit to Clayton, but the referendum was defeated.
“We need to take care of our seniors,” Ware said.
Davenport said the Clayton delegation would work with the Clayton County Board of Commissioners on the matter.
However, the overriding issue, as it is each year, is the state budget. Davenport said Georgia has a $400 million budget deficit created primarily by the Medicaid deficit.
“There is likely another $400 million deficit created by revenue shortfall,” Davenport said, adding that Gov. Deal has ordered a 3 percent budget cut for most state agencies this year.