Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Last-minute Proposal to Strip Security Funding Postponed By Fulton Commission

ATLANTA -- Fulton County Commissioners on Wednesday stopped short of stripping some $5.4 million in security improvements recommended after a post-shooting review of the Fulton Courts Complex in 2005.

The commission received a recommendation Tuesday to redirect some of the funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to building an aviation community center at Charlie Brown Airport in the Fulton Industrial Boulevard district.

A study lead by the U.S. Marshal's Office after a deadly March 11, 2005 shooting in the Fulton Court Complex in which a judge, court reporter and deputy were killed and a second deputy was gravely injured urged Fulton to bring its security umbrella up to current standards for large court complexes. The primary improvement recommended was a command center to monitor the nearly 1-million-square-foot facility that is visited by thousands daily.

The commission decided to postpone a vote on the change County Manager Zachary Williams said resulted from conversations with city officials who must authorize the county to spend the funds within the city limits.

County Attorney David Ware said commissioners are within their legal rights in changing the list of items prior to finalizing the bond approval.

The $26 million project list includes lighting, building maintenance and roof replacement of a senior center. Other items recommended Wednesday include a job training center near the Fulton County jail, a prisoner reentry center for prisoners coming out of Georgia prisons, an arts center roof replacement, and bus stop lighting and security cameras. A health center would be renovated to increase services and the aviation community center at the county's airport in the Fulton Industrial Boulevard area.

 Atlanta officials will consider the county's plan on Aug. 16. Commissioners will vote on projects Aug. 18 and a final list must be submitted to state officials by Aug. 31, Williams said.

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