The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved a resolution that would give voters the opportunity to fund the city’s growing public safety and infrastructure needs through a municipal option sales tax (MOST).The measure must be approved by the Georgia General Assembly before being presented to voters in a referendum.

Enactment and imposition of a MOST would capture revenue from non-residents who use the city’s police, fire and emergency and related court services, as well the city’s streets, sidewalks, and bridges, said Atlanta City Councilmember Michael Julian Bond, the resolution’s sponsor. Atlanta’s public infrastructure – including its public safety capital needs – will cost an estimated $3.1 billion over the next 25 years and to meet the immediate needs of the city’s current infrastructure backlog will cost $750 million.

Specifically 55 percent of the city’s fleet vehicles and 40 percent of its facilities are past their effective lifecycle; and 47 percent of the city’s streets, some 796 miles, are past their resurfacing lifecycle, while 11 percent of the city’s bridges are functionally obsolete or structurally deficient. The city’s Quality of Life Bond Program, which paid for infrastructure improvements for years, has expired.

The revenues from both the public safety and public infrastructure improvement fund would be designated specifically for construction, repairs, special equipment needs and other necessities and collected from within the corporate boundaries of the city and at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

According to the latest U.S. Census data, the city’s resident population is now over half a million, while its daytime population exceeds well over one million.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.