Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin wants a property tax increase this year to fund hiring 200 police officers, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Reaction from some city council members, who must approve any property tax rate increase, was mixed. At-Large Councilman H. Lamar Willis said that a property tax increase is the best available option to come up with the money to hire the needed police officers. Councilman C.T. Martin said “it's virtually impractical” to hire and train 200 officers in basically six months.
While many city dwellers worry Atlanta is becoming more dangerous, police say that violent crime dropped by 9 percent in 2008, compared to 2007. Property crimes, specifically house and car break-ins, are on the rise. Franklin has estimated it would cost at least $20 million to hire, train and equip 200 officers. The police department currently has 1,633 sworn police officers and 79 recruits. The city council is scheduled to vote on a resolution next week to end the furloughs for police officers and firefighters. Franklin has questioned how the council will fund their plan. “Show me the money,” she.