Atlanta officials already agreed a couple of weeks ago to throw $142.5 million in car-rental taxes at a renovation of the Hawks arena, but now it’s official, as the Atlanta city council has given its blessing to the deal:
The Council on Monday approved a deal between the city and College Park to extend car rental tax collections beyond their 2038 sunset to raise at least $110 million to fund a $192.5 million update of Philips, the city’s downtown Atlanta sports and entertainment complex.
Now the city and College Park will collect the tax through 2047. College Park was required to sign off on the deal because it is home to the car rental facilities at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the source of the revenue.
So basically, instead of the car rental tax surcharge ending in 2038, or being available to be used for something else, it will go to repay the $110 million in bonds that will be a-moldering on the city’s books by then. (The Hawks will get another $32.5 million in cash from the city from other sources.)
Anyway, that’s that. The best part of this story comes at the end, where apparently Mayor Kasim Reed got into an argument with a college student, if I’m reading this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article correctly:
Georgia State University student Tim Franzen said he didn’t understand the city’s love of stadiums.
“It’s insane,” he said. “We are not in a crisis of resources. We are in a crisis of moral authority.”
An exasperated Reed pushed back, saying he was tired of the council and his administration being beat up for what he sees as a record of accomplishment, including cutting the unemployment rate in half and millions in investment in the city.
“You are not going to come in here and question our hearts,” he said.
Great moments in democracy, people. I so hope there’s a YouTube clip.