Atlanta Councilman Andre Dickens Remarks on His ABI Budget Vote

As a board member of Invest Atlanta, I have enormous respect for the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. Board of Directors and the diligent staff that work hard everyday to fulfill the mission of this historic public development effort. Chair Somerhalder, elected officials, and all other board members do an admirable job in their roles. There is no question about my confidence in the Board or the staff.

At last year’s Board meeting, I was told that ongoing meetings would resolve this within a few months and we could amend the budget to include any agreed upon payment to Atlanta Public Schools. The dispute is still unresolved and the current ABI budget proposal doesn’t seem to offer a resolution that would honor its’ financial obligation to Atlanta students and their parents.

My no vote against the ABI budget acknowledges my disappointment that there is still no funding set aside to address the organization’s financial commitment to APS. Unlike disputes involving property, this dispute involves resources for educational outcomes that affect two going on three cohorts of children in our city.