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Atlanta City Council Member Says BeltLine Property Tax Hike Shows ‘Distinct Lack of Empathy’ In Pandemic Climate

Atlanta City Council member Howard Shook spoke on WABE's "All Things Considered" about a property tax spike for businesses and apartment buildings along the BeltLine.
Atlanta City Council member Howard Shook spoke on WABE's "All Things Considered" about a property tax spike for businesses and apartment buildings along the BeltLine.
Credit John Bazemore / Associated PRess file

The Atlanta City Council this month voted to raise taxes for businesses and apartment buildings along the BeltLine.

The extra money will be used to help meet the goal of completing the full 22-mile loop as early as 2029.

BeltLine CEO Clyde Higgs talked about how much of an impact funds from the Special Service District, or SSD, will have on completing the anticipated 22-mile trail loop. Higgs broke down the funding this way: $100 million from the SSD, $100 million from Atlanta’s philanthropic community and $100 million from the BeltLine’s current budget.

“This is game-changing for us, and this is going to be another one of those pieces where the historians write about the development of the city of Atlanta, that significant vote is going to be a part of that conversation,” Higgs said.

But the historians may also write about how some businesses along the BeltLine, and some members of City Council, aren’t in favor of the tax hike, according to Atlanta City Council member Howard Shook.

He spoke on WABE’s “All Things Considered” with reporter Emil Moffatt about his concerns and said a property tax spike for businesses coming out of the coronavirus pandemic shows a “distinct lack of empathy.”

BeltLine officials told WABE the SSD covers all of the projected trail-loop, including sections that are not yet completed.

If you are a commercial and multifamily property owner near the BeltLine, you can use this interactive SSD Parcel Locator to determine if you’ll pay slightly more in property taxes to fund the completion of the Atlanta BeltLine Trail.