Sparks fly in tense meeting over Beltline payment to APS

An Atlanta council member stepped up her questioning Wednesday of whether Mayor Kasim Reed's administration violated the law when it authorized a nearly $9.1 million payment to the Atlanta Public Schools last month without council approval.

In a tense finance committee hearing, District 9 Councilwoman Felicia Moore made her case for why she believes Reed’s office overstepped its bounds by quietly dipping into the general fund to help settle the Atlanta Beltline dispute.

The city council previously authorized $4 million to help bring an end to the long-running conflict. But, in late December, the city's chief financial officer pulled another $5 million from the city's coffers to make what Reed has called a "good faith payment." Moore believes the administration, which remains in negotiations with schools officials, was required by city law to first ask the council for the additional money. She first raised her concerns last week.

City Attorney Cathy Hampton, who faced tough questioning by Moore over the payment, pushed back against accusations of wrongdoing. Hampton believes the 2009 agreement that established the Beltline tax allocation district, which the council approved, gave the city all the clearance it needed.

To learn more about what's at stake for the Beltline, visit