According to the AJC, rather than send back more than $30 million in unspent federal aid, Atlanta officials have pushed through more than 50 last-minute deals with service agencies who hope to spend like crazy before the program expires on Dec. 31. The money in question is part of the city’s $53 million Renewal Community, a successor to the federal Empowerment Zone designation the city was given about 15 years ago. That program was supposed to breathe life into long-neglected urban communities, the kind that suffered from disinvestment, crime, drugs and falling property values.
After six years, Harper’s group had used about $7 million for administration and $7.5 million for services, and officials expected to be able to spend at least another $8 million or more before year’s end. That left Atlanta looking at the very real possibility of returning as much as $30 million in federal aid before Dec. 31.
Also Atlanta is now ranked number 2 behind New York when it comes to rat infestation. This money could have helped to prevent that.