BCN Members Version – PDF (login required).
I. Welcome & Introductions
Tom Tidwell called the meeting to order at about 6:45 PM. A quorum was not present.
II. Approval of Minutes
Minutes for the July meeting were not approved because of the absence of a quorum.
III. Admit New Member Neighborhoods
No neighborhoods asked to be admitted to membership in BCN.
IV. Committee and Liaison Updates
- No report.
- No report.
- Did not meet. No report.
- 25 neighborhoods have renewed/joined.
- No report.
- No report.
Transportation, Development and Infrastructure
- No report.
V. Community Concerns/New Business
Nina Schwartz, NPU-A
Concerns about “road dieting” on Peachtree – Nina spoke against the proposed reorganization of traffic lanes on Peachtree Road/Street. Currently, Peachtree has six through lanes. The proposal is to convert to four through lanes, adding a dedicated left turn median as well as bike lanes on both sides. She was concerned that Peachtree’s capacity to carry traffic would be reduced and that cut-through traffic would be forced into nearby neighborhood streets which already have congestion issues. To make comments and for more information, Nina can be reached at email@example.com. Councilmember Mary Norwood supported the opposition to the road diet.
Robert Stockwell, CPA
Robert Stockwell, CPA is the author of the blog “Financial Deconstruction” (http://financial-deconstruction.com) Robert has 30 years of experience as a CFO and COO of companies as large as 2200 employees. His talk to BCN was organized around these topics:
- What Voters Wanted
- Budget & Budget Process
- Educational Outcomes
- Old Administration
- New Administration
- Beltline Dispute
- Future Issues
Cynthia Briscoe Brown and Jason Esteves, Atlanta Board of Education
Tom Tidwell asked the two newly elected members of the Board of Education to introduce themselves and tell BCN what they see as some of the issues.
Cynthia Briscoe Brown went first and said that they had already accomplished some major things. They had certainly hired the right new superintendent. They got the budget out two months early. She said the budget wasn’t perfect but that they needed to move forward. She said with Jason’s help that had done some important little things like live streaming the MOE’s monthly board meetings. She said the new board is much more accessible to the public and talked about meeting school employees who had never met a BOE member before. Cynthia is the APS representative to the Beltline Board and she doesn’t think the dispute is an either-or choice – we need the Beltline and we need to support the students. She is optimistic about settling the Beltline/APS dispute by getting the deciders” together.
Jason Esteves agreed with Cynthia’s comments. He said they are trying to do the little things right since that makes it easier to do the big things right. He said that things like live streaming of the board meetings and getting the meeting agendas our well in advance was really important. He said other details were also being done which are also very important: like having the air conditioning on for the first day of school and like having text books available the first day of school. He said working on the school board was hard work – making change is hard. Jason said he was the “point person” for the pension under-funding problem. He said the system has a “ridiculous” pension liability: APS has an unfunded pension liability of $550 million dollars. It is one of the most unfunded pension systems in the state, probably one of the worst in the country. It is not the same situation that the city had which involved people still on the payroll. For APS, 85% of the system’s pension liabilities are with retirees. They need a solution that honors commitments to retirees without impacting the students. The problem started 30 years ago, then ignored for decades and now, it must be addressed. A pension task force has been established to get needed funding and get a solution within a year.
Tom asked Jason about the “Equity Audit” and where the issue was going. This 1400-page system-wide audit looked to see if schools and neighborhoods were being treated equally. The report concluded the system was very inequitable, but not in the ways one might expect. The inequities are not North-South as might be expected but all over the map. The system will be reviewing the audit to determine solutions.
VII. New Business/Announcements
Mary Norwood encouraged Buckhead residents to attend a meeting on the proposed $250 million infrastructure bond. The project list will be created in September. Mary also said she is proposing legislation to shift the responsibility to fund sidewalk repairs from the adjacent homeowner to the city.
VIII. Next Meeting August 14, 2014
IX. Adjourn – The meeting adjourned at about 8:45 PM.
Note: The opinions expressed by the speakers and individual neighborhood representatives in these minutes do not necessarily represent those of BCN or its member neighborhoods.