The city of Atlanta is redefining the area surrounding the BeltLine.
Previously known as the BeltLine tax allocation district (TAD) or the city’s TAD No. 6, it’s been changed to the BeltLine Special Services District. However, it still serves the same purpose as a TAD, which is an area where property tax funds are collected above a certain amount to be used for a designated period to improve that area.
At its March 15 meeting, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Atlanta City Council approved three ordinances related to establishing and funding the new district. The first ordinance (Legislative Reference No. 21-O-0049) calls for creating the district.
According to the ordinance document, the BeltLine corridor is expected to leverage federal, state, philanthropic and local funds to improve the area developing along the 22-mile ring of former railroad tracks, and has an estimated economic impact of $10 billion for the city.
The corridor and district are expected to include a $12.5 million community retention fund to help existing residents stay in their homes, create 50,000 jobs, allocate up to $150 million of construction funds for minority-owned contractors and service providers, provide $45 million more for affordable housing (with a goal of 5,600 affordable housing units by 2030) and add $12 million to back small businesses there.
The original TAD was approved in 2005 and was set to expire Dec. 31, 2030, and the new district will still end on the same date. However, the ordinance stated, the TAD will collect $1 billion less than first expected due to “ legal disputes and the Great Recession, and notwithstanding the various economic development and planning initiatives directed at achieving the BeltLine vision.”
The second ordinance calls for authorizing an intergovernmental agreement between the city and Invest Atlanta, its development arm, to issue $100 million in bonds for the new district (Legislative Reference No. 21-O-0048). The ordinance’s documents states the funds are “urgently needed” to complete the BeltLine’s vision for development and improvements, at a total cost of $350 million, before the TAD expires.
The third ordinance (Legislative Reference No. 21-O-0052) calls for establishing a rate of ad valorem taxes (two mills on every $1,000 in value) on property within the new district.