The Atlanta City Council will hold a virtual public work session on the proposed tax district to pay for the completion of the Atlanta BeltLine on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m.

The public can leave comments for the council about the proposed special services district (SSD) from 4 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 15, by calling (404) 330-6021. The meeting can be watched live via Channel 26, Atlanta City Council website, Facebook, or Twitter or accessed via phone by calling (877) 579-6743 and entering ID# 8315991256.

The BeltLine is also planning a series of public forums on the SSD in February and March (see the schedule at this link).

The SSD would see a 2-mill increase in taxes for commercial properties and apartment complexes located 0.5 miles on either side of the 22-mile BeltLine trail. BeltLine officials said the SSD was needed to complete the trail because the tax allocation district (TAD) created to fund construction is projected to generate $1 billion less than expected.

Some stakeholders along the corridor have spoken in opposition to the new tax, including Community Improvement Districts (CIDS), a self-taxing scheme that keeps improvement funds in a specific neighborhood, that are concerned about losing revenue while paying a double tax if the SSD is approved.

The Upper Westside Community Improvement District (CID), passed a resolution this week saying it would not support the SSD unless changes were made. The Upper Westside CID falls entirely within BeltLine Subarea 8, which represents less than 9% of the total BeltLine loop mileage and currently contributes 21% of the TAD’s annual revenue. According to a statement from the CID, Subarea 8 has received no BeltLine infrastructure and is still last on the implementation list behind 11 other segments.

The resolution said without a guarantee of proportionality to the tax benefits received, the proposed 2 mill SSD tax would impose an inequitable burden on the commercial properties in Subarea 8.

The Upper Westside CID Board  said it would support the SSD only if the legislation is amended to ensure that the portion of the BeltLine SSD tax collected within Subarea 8 is used solely to acquire right of way and design and construct the BeltLine trail within Subarea 8.

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.