$1.1 billion in spending approved Tuesday by metro Atlanta voters for roads, redevelopment, schools
By David Pendered
If metro Atlanta voters aren’t willing to pay higher taxes to ease traffic congestion and promote schools and development, that’s not the message they sent in Tuesday’s elections.
Voters approved more than $1.1 billion worth of spending in five jurisdictions – $852 million for projects including roads and urban renewal, and $280 million for the Clayton County school district.
Voters in Peachtree City approved a tax incentive program that favors development. Fairburn voters rejected an identical proposal. Two cities approved Sunday alcohol sales – Dacula and Palmetto. All votes results are unofficial pending certification.
The outcomes are of note in a region where voters, just last year, rejected by a 2:1 margin the proposed 1 percent sales tax for transportation improvements.
A quick side-by-side comparison was not available online of the projects that were on the TSPLOST referendum last year and those that were approved Tuesday.
Here is a snapshot of election results of projects that relate to mobility, education and economic development:
- Approved by a margin of 61-39 a proposal to fund $96 million. The county is to receive nearly $60 million of the amount and cities are to share in the remainder. The project list of the county includes roads, bridges and sidewalks; acquiring, building and equiping a county administration building; solid waste facilities; and park and library facilities. The project lists for six cities includes similar projects.
- Approved by a 61-39 margin an education sales tax proposal for $280.25 million. The project list includes construction of an elementary and a middle school; the purchase of school buses and related transportation facilities; and the purchase of textbooks and mobile devices.
- Approved by a 58-42 margin a proposal to fund $498 million. The county is to receive 78.9 percent of the sales tax revenues and cities will collect the remainder. The county intends to spend 70 percent of its share on roads, bridges, intersection improvements and sidewalks; the remainder is to be spent on facilities related to public safety, recreation, libraries and senior services.
- Approved by a margin 54-46 a proposal to fund $190 million. The county and four cities operate or share projects to be funded including roads, bridges and sidewalks; public safety and public works facilities; and parks and land to be purchased for public use.
Approved by a 54-46 margin a proposal to spend $68 million. All the money is to fund urban renewal or streetscape improvement. Some $64 million is targeted for the blighted east side of the city, which is a gateway to Marietta located between I-75 and Cobb Parkway and identified since at least 2007 as Marietta’s center of arrests for violence and drugs. The plan is to buy and demolish 40-year-old apartment complexes and strip shopping centers and offer them to developers. The remaining $4 million is intended to improve the streetscape along Whitlock Avenue, the city’s most established neighborhood.
- Approved by a 65-35 margin a proposal to authorize the creation of tax allocation districts. No specific project been publicly identified, but the city’s Downtown Development Authority is in negotiations with a team of developers to redevelop 30 acres across from The Forum shopping center, on Peachtree Parkway. The project would include 20.6 acres of city-owned land. The development team, which has said financing is already in place, includes the Fuqua Group to develop retail; AMLI for residential; and Pope and Land for office. The team intends to partner with Bob Cheeley, who owns the land that’s not owned by the city, according to a statement the city released in October. Peachtree City residents voted in 2011 to incorporate and the city began operations in mid 2012.
- Rejected by a 52-48 margin a proposal to authorize the creation of tax allocation districts. No specific project had been publicly identified, but a number of possibilies were cited in a 2010 study funded through the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Centers Initiative.
- Approved the sale of packaged alcohol on Sunday by a 59-41 margin.
- Approved the sale of packaged alcohol on Sunday by 50-50 margin. The actual vote was 88-87, with one spoiled ballot, according to dacula.patch.com.