Atlanta is expected to adopt a balanced budget after surviving a cyberattack earlier this year that cost Georgia’s capital city millions.
The proposed fiscal 2019 operating budget is $2.1 billion, which is $61.6 million or 3% higher than the current budget.
The general fund portion of the budget totals $667.3 million, an increase of $18.7 million or 2.9%.
City officials said the general fund increase is primarily attributed to investments in parks, information technology network infrastructure, economic development and employee compensation. It also includes upwards of $5 million associated with hosting the Super Bowl in February.
The budget for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, one of four self-supporting enterprise funds, is $542 million, a 6.6% increase due in part to a multi-year $6 billion capital plan announced in March 2016.
The City Council is expected to adopt the budget Monday.
Atlanta has not publicly released how much it cost to resolve a massive ransomware attack March 22 when the attackers demanded $51,000 in bitcoins as ransom to unlock the hack. The city refused to pay and has spent months repairing damages. Some departments, including the police, lost valuable information.
City contracts indicate that millions already have been spent repairing the damage, and a technology manager recently proposed that $9.5 million be included in the 2019 budget to address the issue.
The publicly available budget does not include a line item for cyber-security expenditures, but S&P Global Ratings analyst Nora Wittstruck said the spending plan is balanced and includes funds for improvements that will mitigate exposure to future cyber attacks.
“We believe Atlanta's ongoing economic prosperity in fiscal 2019 will support the AA-plus general obligation rating,” Wittstruck said.
Moody's Investors Service assigns its Aa1 rating to the city’s GOs, while Fitch Ratings assigns its AA-plus rating. All outlooks are stable.
In the coming year, the city is expected to complete the Atlanta Beltline, a 22-mile trail system connecting 45 neighborhoods that is expected to spur $10 billion to $20 billion of investment in new housing units, restaurant, retail and commercial growth and a development has been proposed for a large tract of land near a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority rail station, according to Wittstruck.
Atlanta also made the short list of locations for Amazon’s second headquarters, which could bring the city 50,000 new “high paying” jobs. The winner is expected to be announced this year.
Earlier this month, Mayor Keisha Bottoms, who took office in January, began filling out her administration.
Roosevelt Council became the city’s new chief financial officer on June 11.
Council was general manager for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. He replaced Jim Beard, who Bottoms asked to resign along with six other cabinet members hired by former Mayor Kasim Reed.
“There are few roles more important than chief financial officer, and we are fortunate that Roosevelt Council has agreed to continue with our administration in this new capacity,” Bottoms said. “Our ability to achieve our goals with regard to affordable housing, economic development, quality education, safety and overall service to our citizens is directly tied to the effective management of city finances.”
Bottoms praised Council for his work managing the airport, which she called one of Atlanta’s “most important assets.”