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Guest donaltopablo

State offers Sewer Loans

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Perdue offers sewer money

By TY TAGAMI and JIM THARPE

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Did I not call this before!!! I was right! Told ya it would happen. ^_^

Either bonds would be floated or the state would jump in with loans meaning federal help will be that much easier to get. Pragmatism WILL always prevail in Atlanta. This is just another fine example. ^_^

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It certainly does. What's really left to determine is how they will finish paying for it and what level of rate increases will be required. But I agree this is excellent news for Atlanta. This would be a horrible thing to kill the amazing boom of construction and redevelopment going on in Atlanta.

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I posted this over at SSP btw. This is great news for everyone who keeps up with Atlanta.

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Here's more of how the politics has played out. This is HUGE. :)

---------------------------------------

Politics play out behind loan plan -

Business execs bridge partisan gap

By JIM THARPE

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

It was a rare sight in the take-no-prisoners world of Georgia politics.

There was Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue clearing the way for massive loans to Democratic Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, money needed to extricate a city full of Democratic voters from a financial quagmire. An hour later, state Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson (R-Savannah), a renowned Democrat-basher, was touting an alliance between GOP lawmakers and the Democratic-dominated Atlanta legislative delegation to ensure passage of a 1 percent sales tax increase needed to pump millions more into city coffers.

A beaming Franklin thanked Republicans, and Perdue and Johnson stressed that the mayor had inherited the sewer problems from her predecessors.

It might have been the biggest pre-Christmas happy hour since Tiny Tim and Scrooge patched things up.

"It's changed from a partisan thing to a statesmanlike thing," state Rep. Bob Holmes (D-Atlanta), a frequent Perdue critic, noted later. "If we find out what's going on, we ought to bottle it because we'll need it again."

What was going on -- beneath the group hug played out for the television cameras -- was some serious politics, a lot of closed-door meetings and the considerable heft of the Atlanta business community, veteran powerbrokers who move comfortably between Republicans and Democrats.

Just two months ago, the state GOP power structure and Franklin appeared locked in a no-win dispute over Atlanta's sewer mess. Many Republicans did not want to appear to be bailing out a Democratic-controlled city with a recent history of questionable finances. And the city could not come up with the money it needed without help from the GOP, which controls the governor's office, the state Senate and eight of the state's 13 congressional seats.

"We didn't cause Atlanta's problem and we shouldn't have to bail them out," Johnson said in late October. Perdue rejected the city's call for $500 million in grants, and Franklin was getting a cold shoulder in Washington.

But Republican leaders say they realized they had a lot at stake in making sure Atlanta's outdated infrastructure got fixed. If things went badly for the state's largest city, the impact would be felt across Georgia.

"Atlanta is the engine that drives the state's economy, and the state cannot risk losing current or potential businesses, industries and citizens because of this serious and ongoing problem," U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga) and Zell Miller (D-Ga.) jointly wrote to Franklin earlier this month.

Perdue, meanwhile, met quietly in mid-November with his key economic advisers and Paul Berks, director of the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, to figure out how to get loans to the city with minimal impact on state taxpayers. They came up with three options, according to officials who participated in the negotiations:

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