Maria Saporta, Saporta Report
The administration of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has proposed to drain all the city’s dollars in the Eastside Tax Allocation District to plug a hole in its budget.
But the idea makes no sense.
The city taking away $17 million from the Eastside TAD would basically kill the economic development tool aimed at helping revitalize some of the most historic areas in our city – Auburn Avenue, the Martin Luther King Jr. District and the Old Fourth Ward.
It would remove the city’s best incentive to help about $480 million in proposed projects already in the pipeline get off the ground – translating into more than 1,300 new housing units – of which at least 400 would be affordable, according to Atlanta City Councilman Amir Farokhi, whose district includes much of the Eastside TAD.
That’s not the worst of it.
If the city were to transfer $17 million from the Eastside TAD to the General Fund, then the city would have to give nearly $16 million back to the Atlanta Public Schools and more than $18 million to Fulton County (the TAD dollars come from those three jurisdictions).
“The real question then, is would we rather Invest Atlanta have over $51 million to invest in Sweet Auburn and Downtown or have $17 million for the General Fund?” Farokhi asked in a letter to his colleagues. “It’s a tremendously expensive and losing trade off. We’d be taking a $36 million loss just to re-purpose some money.”
In all, that would deplete the Eastside TAD of about $51 million that could be used to jumpstart a number of worthy projects.
Read the complete article at the link above.