Atlanta residents will decide in March whether to renew a longstanding penny sales tax city officials say has been used to fix the city’s water and sewer issues while keeping utility rates low.
If the tax is approved, taxpayers would pay up to $750 million over four years to continue fixing the city’s water issues which are projected to cost nearly $4 billion.
City Council approved the March 24, 2020, referendum during its Nov. 18 meeting. The current penny tax would end Sept. 30, 2020.
The Municipal Optional Sales Tax, or MOST, has been in place since 2004, when former Mayor Shirley Franklin was in office, and has helped Atlanta pay for sewer improvements required by a federal consent decree, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution archives. Issued in 1999, the consent decree also required Atlanta to eliminate sewage overflows into rivers and streams.