Atlanta officials approve $40M outlay for public safety

(The Center Square) — The Atlanta City Council approved a plan to spend more than $40 million on public safety equipment, including new apparatus for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department.

A spokesman for Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens confirmed to The Center Square that the spending plan includes $19 million for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department and $21 million for the Atlanta Police Department.

“Legislation like this allows us to continue the implementation of our One Safe City plan which is focused on making all of our neighborhoods safe and welcoming for both residents and visitors,” Dickens said in a statement. “These investments will include new fire engines, trucks and lifesaving apparatus for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department as well as expanding the Atlanta Police Department’s take home vehicle program.”

On the fire front, city officials say funding is necessary to upgrade an aging fire apparatus fleet. Some days, up to 15 or 20 fire apparatus are out of service due to mechanical issues, and during “multiple” recent structure fires, the nearest engine or truck was out of service, according to a resolution.

“With the passage of these two pieces of legislation, the City Council and Mayor [Andre] Dickens have made a historic investment of over $18 million into our Atlanta Fire Rescue Department,” District 9 Council member and Public Safety and Legal Administration Committee Chair Dustin Hillis said in a statement.

The council also passed a resolution asking Invest Atlanta to approve $8.7 million in Tax Allocation District funding for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department’s emergency fleet replacement purchases, including heavy apparatus, battalion chief vehicles and fire engines.

“Additionally, we are seeking the approval of [additional funding] from Invest Atlanta to purchase additional fire apparatus for three fire stations within two of our Tax Allocation Districts,” Hillis added. “With the $18 million in funding approved today, the City of Atlanta will purchase eight fire engines, one ladder truck, one utility truck, two swift water rescue jet boats, all new self-contained breathing apparatus, and all new heart monitors/defibrillators.”

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

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