Inside City Hall: Atlanta expecting $1.4 billion in LOST revenue over next decade

A weekly roundup of the most important things you need to know about Atlanta City Hall.

Do you remember when we previously told you last month that Atlanta is going to receive $400 million in additional funding over the next decade thanks to a new tax revenue agreement with Fulton County? Well, Atlanta Chief of Staff Odie Donald II has provided more insight into the future impact of the local option sales tax (LOST) on Atlanta.

Donald told an Atlanta City Council committee last week that Atlanta is expecting a total of $1.487 billion over the proceeding 10-year period beginning next year. For context, the city received $1 billion over the last decade from LOST, so this number is simply the total amount coming to the city going forward.

“For us, inflation is actually a good thing because it impacts the numbers that we collect through our sales tax,” Donald said. “It is imperative that we keep LOST in place not only for this 10-year period but really forevermore.”

Annual LOST collections account for approximately 20% of the city’s overall General Fund revenue budget that pays for Atlanta’s public services. After months of tense negotiations with Fulton County, the city managed to increase in its municipal share allocation to 42.96%, said Donald. The prior allocation rate was 40.436%.

Credit: City of Atlanta

Credit: City of Atlanta

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Speaking of city funds, we also learned from Atlanta Chief Financial Officer Mohamed Balla that the city is projected to end fiscal year 2022 with a record-breaking fund balance of $235 million. With that in mind, it’s no wonder why Mayor Andre Dickens unveiled plans to increase the forthcoming pay raise for city employees next month.

Atlanta Deputy CFO Tina Wilson also presented a status report on the first quarter of fiscal year 2023, which began in July. She said the city is expecting a fiscal year-end projected revenue surplus of $5.9 million, or .8% of the operating revenue budget.

On the expense side, Wilson said personnel benefits, purchase services, supplies, and capital outlays could put the city at risk of ending the fiscal year over budget by $13.7 million or 1.8% of the operating expense budget. This means Atlanta has an estimated fiscal year-end deficit of $7.8 million as of today.

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In other news, Invest Atlanta through its Atlanta Emerging Markets branch joined the Center for Civic Innovation last week to invest $185,000 into four Atlanta-based, mission-driven ventures. Invest Atlanta told us that those funds will support TruDiary, Helping Empower Youth (HEY!), The SAVE Institute, and Make Music Count in expanding its operations and impact in the communities they serve. This also represents the fifth round of flexible, zero-percent interest loans through the Civic Impact Loan Fund.

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By the way: On Wednesday, Atlanta is hosting a formal installation ceremony for Darin Schierbaum, the city’s new permanent police chief. We’re told the details for the investiture will be released any moment now, but we can confirm that it’ll have a limited number of seating for attendance.

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Finally, Monday marks the Atlanta City Council’s final full meeting of the year. Times flies, doesn’t it?

We’re sure several items will receive approval, including legislation that would lower parking maximums in downtown and midtown Atlanta. Councilman Jason Dozier told us this measure would ensure the city has more people-centered development.

“It’s just saying that developers will have a cap on how much parking they can build for new construction in those subareas,” Dozier said. “I look forward to seeing how that will make Atlanta better in terms of walkability, bikeability and transit.”

Send us tips and feedback at Wilborn.Nobles@ajc.com.