The city of Atlanta is broke, and not even the prospect of a new mayor can change that fact.
Due to mismanagement of funds and widespread fraud perpetrated by the last two mayoral administrations, there is no money left in the city budget for the most basic city improvements or services like paving streets, fixing broken lights, repairing washed out bridges or an archaic drainage system that leaves entire neighborhoods under 15 feet of water after a drenching downpour.
Because of the budgetary constraints, DOT workers have been laid off and highway improvement projects put on hold. As a result, traffic gridlock during rush hour is the worst it's ever been in recent memory.
If you travel anywhere inside or outside of the perimeter on 285, GA 400, or the downtown connector during rush hour, you might as well bring a good book because it will be awhile before you reach your destination. And that's when there are no traffic accidents to impede the flow of traffic.
But worst of all, there is no money in the city budget to hire and train new police recruits or retain good, veteran officers. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper, police officers, many of whom never received promised pay raises from Mayor Shirley Franklin, have resigned at a rate nearly twice the national average, leaving the department with about 1,600 officers for 5.5 million Metropolitan area residents.
You do the math.
The AJC wrote a revealing expose' on the inefficient, and sometimes negligent 911 system and the hours it takes for the Atlanta police to answer a high priority call in the city of Atlanta.
Due to the crippling police shortage and job vacancies within the 911 system, it takes an average of two hours for police to respond to high priority calls.
According to Chief Richard Pennington (who came to us from New Orleans' corrupt police department), only reports of shots fired brings police to your door in under 10 minutes. Every other call is placed in a queue for up to an hour before police are dispatched.
On a warm afternoon in May, a woman watched a middle-aged man in a yellow jumpsuit chasing children on the playground at Phoenix Park while exposing himself. She quickly reached for her cell phone and called 911. A 911 operator assured the woman that an officer was on the way. Normally a call of this nature would bring the police running in under 3 minutes.
But instead, the 911 operator sent a message to a police dispatcher who held the call for a ridiculous 56 minutes and five seconds before sending an officer! Almost an hour had passed between the time the woman placed the 911 call and the officer arrived to arrest the child molester -- who happened to still be there terrorizing the children.
In stark contrast to Atlanta's police problems, I live in quiet, bucolic Chamblee Dunwoody which has a separate police force. If I call 911 to report a noise disturbance, two officers from Dunwoody police force will show up at my door in 4 minutes showing great concern and apologizing for being one minute late.
So if you're thinking of moving your family to Atlanta, don't do it. You're better off remaining where you are. Nothing could be worse than living in Atlanta right now.