Photo of Ward 6 Millage Meeting
WARD 6: Director Doris Wright addresses the public that attended the millage meeting at West Central Community Center. Mary Hennigan

City officials on Monday met with dozens of residents in Ward 6 at the West Central Community Center to get input on how to spend the proceeds from the renewal of a capital millage voters approved in August on streets, drainage and parks improvement. The meeting started off in typical fashion, with explanations about the source of the money and how it can be spent.

Things started to change as members of the crowd — the room was completely full, and with people standing at the back of the room there were probably 70 in attendance — shifted the discussion from talk of potential improvements to be made to complaints about the city ignoring the ward. A few folks shouted out their disapproval of Director Doris Wright’s leadership.


“We really are tired of coming to these meetings,” one attendee said. “We have a lot to say and nothing has been done.”

Wright said that she was appreciative that the city officials and her fellow board members were hearing residents’ concerns, rather than only filtered through her at board meetings. She said that she’s gotten into several arguments with City Manager Bruce Moore about projects over the years.

Photo of Bruce Moore at millage meetingMary Hennigan
CITY MANAGER: Bruce Moore explains the bond millage money.

At the board level, Wright has consistently brought forward ward-specific issues to add to the agenda. She’s been on the board for 16 years, and some projects have taken years to get approval from the board, she said. The board approved money to pay for improvements to the West Central ballfields two weeks ago, though Wright started fighting for its improvements a decade ago. 

One member of the public asked Wright about the resolution she recently successfully sponsored to keep $5 million of pandemic relief funds in reserve, rather than allocate the entire $18.5 million now as Mayor Frank Scott Jr. had proposed (the ballfields got funded through this resolution). Wright’s plan passed 8-2, and she said that the reserve funds would be pulled from in case of emergencies, or for projects that are presented at the public millage meetings and can’t be included in that budget.


The Ward 6 board seat is up for election in November, and both of Wright’s opponents, Andrea Lewis and Ellen Brown, were at the meeting Monday. Cars in the parking lot were all tagged with Lewis campaign flyers, and she was speaking with groups about her vision for the ward outside.

Moore led most of the meeting and called on people to hear their concerns. Some shared that their houses flooded at any sight of rain because of poor ditch control, others echoed the same issues, but said it was because of duplex and apartment developments that changed the landscape and caused drainage to run into their homes.

Some voiced concerns that the construction of multi-family homes near their single-family homes was lowering their property values — one woman specifically wanted to change access on Dover Drive off of 36th Street as traffic from a new apartment development is busying the road. Wright brought this conversation to the Board of Directors several times, and she said she’s working with Moore and others to find a solution. Moore said one should come this week.

One man said that the area behind Dollar General near Ludwig Street has weeds, grass and trees growing so tall that the mail can barely be delivered. “I’m tired of waiting for bureaucracy to do their thing,” he said. “Give me a dumpster and I’ll clear it out in two days.” 


All Public Works projects from residents need to be submitted by Sept. 30. The online request form can be found here. 

Prioritizing projects will come from the discussions at public meetings, how many people are impacted by a specific improvement and discussion with directors, Honeywell said. All projects must fit within the $1.65 million budget for each category. Other funding options, such as grants, will need to be sought for larger projects.

Moore said that past projects that used up its funding but aren’t necessarily completed, “would probably make sense to complete.”

Jon Honeywell, director of Public Works, also helped answer questions and concerns. He detailed that with the first cycle of bond funds, $1.65 million of street-specific work can be completed, as well as $1.65 million for drainage projects in each ward. Moore said the first set of funds are expected around the new year, and projects should be decided on in December. City officials will make their rounds again in November with a list of proposed projects.

Photo of Jon Honeywell at millage meetingMary Hennigan
PUBLIC WORKS: Director Jon Honeywell meets with a member of the public after the Ward 6 millage meeting.

The money is split into multiple allocations because 85% of it has to be spent within the first three years, Moore said.

One Ward 6 resident, Lola Robinson, voiced strong concerns about cars speeding down John Barrow Road. She said that “drag racing” sometimes starts as early as 7 a.m. when young children are waiting for the school bus. She requested immediate action, and Moore said that because it wouldn’t require bond funds, it could get fixed soon. 

As public safety and crime crept into the conversation — a homicide was reported on John Barrow Road Saturday — Moore reiterated that the millage funds can’t be moved to other categories. He noted the importance of public safety, but the streets, drainage and parks funds can only be spent in those areas.

The special election for the bond millage was on Aug. 9, and the public approved all six issues that totaled $161.8 million to be spent over the next 15 years. 

The Ward 6 meeting was one of seven meetings on the “listening tour” around the city on ways to spend the bond millage money. There are two remaining meetings left; one on Wednesday Sept. 21 at the Kendall Nugent Conference Center, and one Thursday Sept. 22 at the Western Hills United Methodist Church. The meetings start at 6 p.m.