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Leon Stafford

Local government reporter

Local government reporter Leon Stafford, a Tennessee grad, has been at the AJC since 1997. He covers Atlanta city government.

Latest from Leon Stafford

Atlanta increases safety assessment to upgrade 911, plug budget hole
 Atlanta taxpayers, get ready to fork out more money for 911 services. The city plans to address a $6 million budget shortfall in the operations of 911 by raising the public safety assessment that is attached to solid waste bills from $26 to $34 for residential dwellings and from $307 to $397 for commercial buildings. The move is expected...

Posted: a day ago

Atlanta taxpayers, get ready to fork out more money for 911 services. The city plans to address a $6 million budget shortfall in the operations of 911 by raising the public safety assessment that is attached to solid waste bills from $26 to $34 for residential dwellings and from $307 to $397 for commercial buildings. The move is expected...
Atlanta parks system ranked 50th among 100 big cities
 Atlanta may be considered a city in a forest because of its tree canopy, but its parks rate a “meh”at best. The city’s park system ranked 50th out of the nation’s 100 largest cities in a survey by the Trust for Public Land. Atlanta tied with Dallas for the spot, inching up one space from last year when Georgia&rsquo...

Posted: 2 days ago

Atlanta may be considered a city in a forest because of its tree canopy, but its parks rate a “meh”at best. The city’s park system ranked 50th out of the nation’s 100 largest cities in a survey by the Trust for Public Land. Atlanta tied with Dallas for the spot, inching up one space from last year when Georgia&rsquo...
Atlanta’s West End merchants OK taxing themselves to revitalize area
 Atlanta’s West End community — home to historic Atlanta University Center and one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods — has created a tax district in an effort to revitalize the area. West End merchants — which include funeral homes, mom-and-pop eateries, architecture firms and the Mall West End — are hoping...

Posted: 4 days ago

Atlanta’s West End community — home to historic Atlanta University Center and one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods — has created a tax district in an effort to revitalize the area. West End merchants — which include funeral homes, mom-and-pop eateries, architecture firms and the Mall West End — are hoping...
High school student struck by tree while camping dies
 UPDATE: Harrison High School said on its webpage Monday that is offering counselors and a crisis team from the Cobb County School District to talk with students about the death of Joelle Dalgleish.  “Understanding and coping with the death of a classmate can be a very difficult experience,” the school’s principal Ashlynn...

Posted: 5 days ago

UPDATE: Harrison High School said on its webpage Monday that is offering counselors and a crisis team from the Cobb County School District to talk with students about the death of Joelle Dalgleish.  “Understanding and coping with the death of a classmate can be a very difficult experience,” the school’s principal Ashlynn...
Man shot twice in face dies; 4 more shootings reported in Atlanta
 A man in his 30s who was shot early Sunday in southwest Atlanta  has died from his injuries, Atlanta police said. Police responded to a shooting call in a parking lot in the 300 block of Fairburn Road about 1:40 a.m. and found 38-year-old Terry Tolbert of Atlanta shot twice in the face and three times in the chest. Tolbert  was taken to a...

Posted: 5 days ago

A man in his 30s who was shot early Sunday in southwest Atlanta has died from his injuries, Atlanta police said. Police responded to a shooting call in a parking lot in the 300 block of Fairburn Road about 1:40 a.m. and found 38-year-old Terry Tolbert of Atlanta shot twice in the face and three times in the chest. Tolbert was taken to a...
Affordable housing numbers rise on Atlanta BeltLine
 Hundreds of new affordable housing are opening or in the planning stages for the Atlanta BeltLine, one of the hottest real estate destinations in the city. As Atlanta’s housing prices soar, organizations including the BeltLine, Invest Atlanta, Westside Future Fund and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s office are working on ways to keep...

Posted: 7 days ago

Hundreds of new affordable housing are opening or in the planning stages for the Atlanta BeltLine, one of the hottest real estate destinations in the city. As Atlanta’s housing prices soar, organizations including the BeltLine, Invest Atlanta, Westside Future Fund and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s office are working on ways to keep...
Atlanta BeltLine pushing ahead on affordable housing as prices soar
 The Atlanta BeltLine, one of the city’s hottest properties and increasingly home to housing costing half a million and up, is pushing hard to get hundreds of affordable housing units opened or in the pipeline in the coming months. The stretch of trails and greenspace that will eventually make up the 22-mile loop inside the city has...

Posted: 7 days ago

The Atlanta BeltLine, one of the city’s hottest properties and increasingly home to housing costing half a million and up, is pushing hard to get hundreds of affordable housing units opened or in the pipeline in the coming months. The stretch of trails and greenspace that will eventually make up the 22-mile loop inside the city has...
Housing surge, sales taxes help Atlanta boost $637 million budget
 Atlanta’s housing boom will play a big role in the city’s $637 million budget for fiscal 2018, an increase of almost 1.1 percent over last year. Property tax collections are expected to increase almost 3 percent in fiscal 2018 to about $200 million compared to $194.7 million the year before. That means the explosion of cranes...

Posted: 8 days ago

Atlanta’s housing boom will play a big role in the city’s $637 million budget for fiscal 2018, an increase of almost 1.1 percent over last year. Property tax collections are expected to increase almost 3 percent in fiscal 2018 to about $200 million compared to $194.7 million the year before. That means the explosion of cranes...
Housing surge to send Atlanta property tax collections up 1.5 percent
 Atlanta expects to see a 1.5 percent boost in revenue from property taxes in fiscal 2018, thanks to a surge in new housing and commercial developments. The city is proposing a $637 million budget in the new fiscal year — which starts July 1 — that will see an increase in spending for police and fire departments, but also cuts...

Posted: 8 days ago

Atlanta expects to see a 1.5 percent boost in revenue from property taxes in fiscal 2018, thanks to a surge in new housing and commercial developments. The city is proposing a $637 million budget in the new fiscal year — which starts July 1 — that will see an increase in spending for police and fire departments, but also cuts...
Ceasar Mitchell makes “presidential” hires in Atlanta mayoral run
 Atlanta City Council President Ceaser Mitchell has made a couple of “presidential” hires to help guide him in his run for mayor of Georgia’s capital. Lance Orchid, who worked on the presidential runs for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, has been named Mitchell’s new campaign manager. Native Atlantan Richard McDaniel...

Posted: 9 days ago

Atlanta City Council President Ceaser Mitchell has made a couple of “presidential” hires to help guide him in his run for mayor of Georgia’s capital. Lance Orchid, who worked on the presidential runs for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, has been named Mitchell’s new campaign manager. Native Atlantan Richard McDaniel...
Atlanta mayoral candidate Fort pushes city council on marijuana reform
 State Sen. Vincent Fort on Monday implored the Atlanta City Council to move forward on a proposal to eliminate jail time and reduce the fines for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana in Georgia’s capital. “It is a gateway drug to mass incarceration, mostly of young African Americans,” said Fort, who is running for...

Posted: 11 days ago

State Sen. Vincent Fort on Monday implored the Atlanta City Council to move forward on a proposal to eliminate jail time and reduce the fines for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana in Georgia’s capital. “It is a gateway drug to mass incarceration, mostly of young African Americans,” said Fort, who is running for...