Atlanta City Council approves legislation calling on Fulton County to stop granting tax breaks in the city

The Atlanta City Council approved legislation on Sept. 21 calling on the Development Authority of Fulton County to stop granting tax breaks to developers inside city limits.

The legislation, introduced by Post 2 At-Large Council member Matt Westmoreland, states that tax abatements within Atlanta should be provided solely by Invest Atlanta and meet the goals of the Economic Mobility, Recovery and Resiliency Plan adopted by the Council on Sept. 8.

“Tax abatements should be used to support projects committing to deeply affordable housing and projects in underserved neighborhoods in need of middle-wage jobs, grocery stores, and other amenities. Offering tax abatements in thriving parts of town discourages development in communities that need it the most. And it withholds needed funding for everything from police and fire services to street improvements and parks upkeep. Making up for that lost revenue falls to Atlanta homeowners and renters,” Westmoreland said following approval of the legislation.

Under Georgia law, communities can create local development authorities to be used as financing mechanisms to further economic development initiatives. The Development Authority of Fulton County facilitates economic development initiatives within a jurisdiction that encompasses all of Fulton County, including Atlanta. The legislation will be forwarded to all Fulton County Commission members and board members of the Development Authority of Fulton County.

Other items approved Monday include:

• A resolution to request that the Atlanta Department of Transportation partner with the City’s Office of Innovation Delivery and Performance to develop a funding plan that provides for the City to annually invest in its road infrastructure at a rate equal to the replacement cycle for all of the City’s streets and roads.

• A resolution authorizing the mayor or her designee to enter into an intergovernmental agreement between the City of Atlanta and Invest Atlanta for economic development and redevelopment services and to establish performance objectives and reporting requirements.

• A resolution to urge the Georgia General Assembly to enact legislation to adopt ranked choice voting for all elections and/or permit counties and municipalities to make use of ranked choice voting in local elections.

• An ordinance authorizing the acceptance of donations of personal protective equipment, COVID-19 test kits, and professional services from the state of New York on behalf of the City of Atlanta to assist the City’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts.

• A resolution urging the federal government to pass legislation to provide universal, comprehensive healthcare coverage with zero cost-sharing for patients during public health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and calling on federal legislators to work toward enactment of legislation to provide fiscally feasible and appropriate healthcare coverage for all U.S. residents.

Several items were introduced that will be considered in committee next week, including:

• A resolution requesting that the Department of City Planning Commissioner conduct a study of the feasibility of allowing all Neighborhood Planning Units to continue allowing virtual meeting attendance when the City of Atlanta reopens and resumes normal operations.

• A resolution urging the Georgia General Assembly to adopt House Bill 1203 to amend state law to prohibit arrests by private citizens or other authorities not identified as a peace officer.

• A resolution to express support for Georgia House Resolution 164, which proposes to amend the Georgia Constitution through a ballot question on the Nov. 3, 2020 general election so as to authorize the General Assembly to provide for the creation or renewal and dedication of revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were intended.

• A resolution authorizing the mayor or her designee to enter into an intergovernmental agreement between the City of Atlanta and Invest Atlanta for the purpose of further aligning its workforce development services provided by WorkSource Atlanta.

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