The mayors of Fulton County’s 15 cities, except Atlanta, which got its own funds, continue to make progress in their quest to get their fair share of $104 million in federal COVID-19 relief monies the county received, Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said.
“We had a call today with (Fulton) Chairman (Robb) Pitts and Dick Anderson, the county manager, and most of the mayors, to talk about the action the board of commissioners may take up tomorrow as part of the agenda,” he said, “One, regular meetings with the mayors as we’d done with TSPLOST (and) water issues. Chairman Pitts agreed to meet with us weekly, monthly or quarterly, and quarterly is adequate. I’m excited we’re going to go back to that.”
Paul provided an update on the situation at the Sandy Springs City Council’s Sept. 1 meeting, which was held virtually due to the pandemic. The mayors have threatened to sue the county over the lack of funds the cities have received and on Aug. 28 had their first meeting with the board since the outbreak started.
The board meets Sept. 2 and is expected to allocate up to double the $15 million in federal funds it’s already given to the cities to reimburse them for COVID-19-related expenses. Originally Fulton was going to distribute only $2.5 million total to the cities, approving that amount at the board's June 3 meeting, before the lawsuit threat prompted the board to approve adding about $13 million to the cities at its last meeting Aug. 19.
The mayors have said the allocation was supposed to be $174.79 per resident in each city, and the $15 million would equal only $25.03.
“The county has identified some funds that would be possible to give the cities a greater share of those funds,” Paul said, adding Sandy Springs has already spent more than $4 million on virus-related expenses. “I’ve talked to (Fire) Chief (Keith) Sanders about it, and we’ve provided PPE (personal protective equipment) for our first responders.
“The ambulance situation, they’re running at a huge deficit as a result of having to transport so many people (to the hospital). The disinfecting of ambulances is another cost.”
He said Anderson has invited to include the cities’ city managers on twice weekly phone calls he has with county staff regarding updates on COVID-19 relief efforts.
“They are developing a list of where the money has been spent in each city so there’s a degree of equity,” Paul said.