Cut in city’s TV operating hours raises concerns

With recent budget cuts, the city of Atlanta’s cable station has ceased broadcasting 24 hours a day, causing City Councilwoman Felicia Moore to introduce legislation requiring the station to continue 24-hour-a-day operation.

Channel 26, provided by Comcast Cable, is now only on the air Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. providing the citizens of Atlanta with coverage of their government.

“Having the city channel operate 24 hours a day lets taxpayers see first-hand how their tax dollars are being spent,” said Moore. “During the time of our budget deliberations of a $140 million shortfall is not the time to cut off public access.”

The cable station covers all city government meetings, produces original programs, and airs stories and reports about events and activities in the community.

Cable subscribers help pay for the station through franchise fees.

For more information, call Councilwoman Moore’s office at (404) 330-6044.

EPD rebuffs Atlanta on water restrictions

Georgia Environmental Protection Division Director Carol Couch denied Atlanta’s recent request for blanket permission to impose stricter outdoor watering restrictions than the state has authorized.

The reason: The EPD chief said the city, in a request signed by Mayor Shirley Franklin, did not specify what restrictions it wants to impose and must do so in such a request.

Until mid-May, Atlanta had banned nearly all outdoor watering to protect its water supply, including prohibiting any watering of existing lawns and flower gardens.

But the city had to lighten the rules starting May 14 to mirror the state’s rules when Gov. Sonny Perdue signed House Bill 1281.

That law makes is illegal for any local government to impose tighter—or looser—restrictions than the state without permission.

The state’s present rules are: Sprinklers are not allowed, only a hand-held garden hose with automatic shut-off. Watering is permitted Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays for houses with odd-numbered addresses and Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays for even-numbered addresses. Watering is allowed midnight to 10 a.m. and water for 25 minutes only.

Sprinklers are allowed for 10 weeks for new plantings of grass, shrubs, trees and flowers.

To use the more lenient rules, homeowners must be certified through an online course available through and from county extension offices.