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06 April 2008

$6 Million For Amphitheaters, No Money For Ambulances

About six months ago, the Fulton County Commission voted to end $10 million in supplemental funding to the county's 14 cities effectively forcing the municipalities to foot the entire bill on ambulance services in their areas [Source: 11/15/2007 AJC article "Fulton Cities To Pay For Ambulance Service"]. For the City of Atlanta, that means an estimated extra $7 million in expenses; $7 million that they don't have. And for the new cities trying to get up off of the ground, cities like Milton and Johns Creek, that's a new $100,000 expense they didn't expect to have.

Tell the Fulton County Commission to get their priorities straight. Saving people's lives is more important than providing people with entertainment.
Six months ago, with the county about to reap a $10 million windfall, two questions were asked: 1.) What will Fulton do with the $10 million it saves?; and 2.) How much are you willing to bet that new ways of spending that money will be found...?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we've found the answers to both of those questions.

Fulton County plans on spending $6 million to "build an amphitheater for concerts in south Fulton over objections that the facility is a waste of taxpayer money" [Source: 4/2/2008 AJC article "Fulton to spend $6M on new South Fulton concert venue"].

Yeah, that's right.

Fulton County authorized six million dollars in new spending while, at the same time, cutting ten million dollars in supplemental funding for EMS ambulance services.

That's where Fulton County's priorities are.

Money for people to be entertained, but no money to save people's lives.

When asked about her vote, Commissioner Emma Darnell said, "It was strictly a matter of finance. We had to let a lot of things go." [Source: 4/6/2008 AJC article "Fewer ambulances, longer waits for Fulton residents?"]

Saving people's lives is a matter of finance? When having to choose between an entertainment venue and keeping people alive, Emma Darnell and three more of her colleagues chose entertainment.

You know what? If we need to "let a lot of things go," let's start with that $6 million waste of money at Wolf Creek park. I can live without an amphitheater. I can't live without...well, living.