Atlanta council mulls public safety fund

Atlanta city council members on Tuesday discussed legislation to create a penny-per-dollar sales tax to pay for new police cars, fire trucks and other public safety facilities.

Councilman Michael Julian Bond is pushing the idea, saying the city has $287.5 million in needed improvements and new vehicles.

The idea would require several steps. First, it must be approved by the council and Mayor Kasim Reed. Then, it must be passed by state lawmakers. Finally, voters must approve the tax in a referendum, which would take place in 2011. If approved, the legislation would take effect in 2012, when Bond said a 1-cent sales tax that goes to the Atlanta school system expires.

The council referred the legislation its finance committee, which will likely take up the matter next week.