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Should Atlanta City Council members face term limits?

It is not uncommon for civil servants to serve more than two decades. Former councilors Cleta Winslow and Joyce Sheperd respectively sought their seventh and fifth terms last year, but both failed to win re-election. On the current board, Councilor Howard Shook is in his sixth term, Councilor Michael Julian Bond is in his fourth.

However, we hear that the legislation could hit the legal question of whether the council has the ability to impose term limits on itself or whether that is something the state should approve.

In case you missed it, the Department of Watershed Management wants to help single-family residences with delinquent account balances. City’s Flexible Levels, Affordable Options and Terms (FLOAT) Initiative Program can help residents resolve their water service issues, whether due to billing errors or metering issues.

The program offers account adjustments, six- to 24-month interest-free payment plans, and one-time grants and credits. Assistance is available for single-family residences with a minimum account balance of $300.

Residents can visit atlantawatershed.org/float/ to schedule an appointment, but walk-in visits are also accepted. To participate, residents can go to the following locations:

  • Buckhead Library: September 26-30
  • Kirkwood Library: October 3-7
  • Louise Watley Library: October 10 to 13 and October 15
  • Town Hall – Old Council Chamber: October 17-20

Councilor Mary Norwood raises eyebrows after posting an online opinion column that echoes talking points from the Buckhead town movement.

In the column, Norwood criticized the city government and said it was neglecting Buckhead. His arguments mostly focused on traffic issues, pointing to a city study that showed his district had the second-highest percentage of roads in “fair” or “poor” condition. She said Buckhead is “not getting what we need and deserve”, a sentiment that has been cheered by supporters of the controversial – and currently dormant – movement in the city.

Atlanta Council Speaker Doug Shipman and Council Member Mary Norwood watch a member of the public speak during the Atlanta City Council meeting on Monday, August 15, 2022. Miguel Martinez / [email protected]

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Atlanta Council Speaker Doug Shipman and Council Member Mary Norwood watch a member of the public speak during the Atlanta City Council meeting on Monday, August 15, 2022. Miguel Martinez / [email protected]

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It elicited a lengthy response from Mayor Andre Dickens’ office. In a letter to Norwood, one of Dickens’ top aides said many of his points “lacked context or specificity.” (You can read the full letter at AJC.com.) Norwood has largely avoided publicly criticizing the Dickens administration, but this back-and-forth will certainly change their dynamic.

The Atlanta Rappers were recently recognized for their impact on City Hall. Last Friday, Politico described how entertainment moguls like TI, Ludacris and Killer Mike influence city politics. The article notes, however, that some critics liken their involvement to the old dynamic of the wealthy meddling in city affairs to serve their own needs.

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NOBLE OF WILBORN III

Wilborn P. Nobles III covers the policies of the mayor of Atlanta for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Wil (not “Willie” or “William”) previously covered Baltimore County government at the Baltimore Sun, but he never finished “The Wire.” He also covered education for The Times-Picayune in his hometown of New Orleans, so he tries to avoid discussions about football. Wil was playing tuba for his high school marching band, but he eventually put down his horn to intern at the Washington Post. The Louisiana State University grad enjoys gardening, acting and music.

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JD CAPELOUTO

JD Capelouto is a local reporter who covers City Hall and all things happening in the city of Atlanta for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His work focuses on city council, neighborhood issues, public safety, housing and transportation. JD was born and raised in Atlanta and has lived in the city his entire life except for four years at Boston University, where he studied journalism and learned how to dress for cold weather. He has worked for the AJC since 2018 and has previously written for the Boston Globe and the Thomson Reuters Foundation. When he’s not posting or scrolling Twitter, JD enjoys pop culture podcasts, “Survivor” and visits various swimming pools around Atlanta.

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