City of Atlanta and APS getting closer on BeltLine tax negotiations

By Maria Saporta

For years, the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Public Schools have been at an impasse over how much money the city owes the school system in payments over the Atlanta BeltLine.

But leaders on both sides are encouraged by recent negotiations, and they believe they could finalize an agreement in the near future.

“I think we are within reach of a deal that works for us – APS and the kids; one that works for the city; and one that works for the BeltLine,” said

Courtney English, chairman of the Atlanta School Board. “We are close enough where I think it’s important for us to hammer out the details.”

Matt Westmoreland Courtney English

Atlanta school board member Matt Westmoreland and Courtney English, chairman of the Atlanta Board of Education, at recent annual meeting of the Metro Atlanta Chamber (Photo by Maria Saporta)

English stopped short of saying there was a year-end deadline to reach an agreement.

But he said both sides are interested in putting this dispute behind them.

“Honestly at this point there are other issues we should be working together on,” English said. “What is driving us to collaborate is to work on those issues that affect our kids and our city.”

English said negotiations are happening on two levels – between him and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and between the attorneys for both governmental entities.

Ceasar Mitchell, president of the Atlanta City Council who has tried to bring both sides together, said he also is encouraged.

“I’m hopeful that an agreement will be reached soon,” Mitchell said. “I would love for it be done by the end of the year. A new year potentially could bring in new issues.”

One of those issues is that the city would owe the Atlanta Public Schools another payment by the start of the new year.

English, however, said there is no firm deadline. The agreement that is being proposed would address future payments.

But English did say there’s another motivation on both sides to get the issue resolved.

We are tired of talking about it,” English said. “It’s been a long time.”

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

7 replies
  1. Burroughston Broch says:

    TigerBullAU  APS has a signed agreement with the City but the City has reneged on making payments as scheduled. You can find plenty of background on line.
    Both the APS and the City are sleazy organizations, but the City takes the prize in this case. Regardless of what you read or hear, this dustup won’t be over until the City gives APS a check with no conditions attached, APS deposits the check, and the check clears both banks.Report

    Reply

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