Audit: Atlanta’s TADs need better oversight

City should establish criteria for how excess cash generated in districts is spent

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  • Invest Atlanta
  • The city’s 10 tax allocation districts have helped build Atlantic Station, the Atlanta Beltline, and other projects

It’s safe to say that if it weren’t for tax allocation districts, or TADs, a polluted steel factory overlooking I-75/85 would probably never have been transformed into Atlantic Station. Or that it’d be difficult to find funding to convert old railroad lines circling the city into a 22-mile loop of parks, trails, and transit known as the Atlanta Beltline.

The complex financing programs are considered one of Atlanta’s most powerful tools when it comes to revitalizing blighted neighborhoods or other areas where developers might fear to venture. Property taxes from new developments in the districts are used to pay for road, sewer, and other infrastructure improvements, but have also been spent to help fund museums, hotels, and condominiums.

But a new city audit says the programs, which are operated by Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm, deserve more oversight by city officials.