Supreme Court sides with Beltline, city in constitutional challenge

Four-year legal battle comes to end


The Georgia Supreme Court today unanimously ruled that the use of school tax revenue to help pay for non-educational development projects such as the Atlanta Beltline is constitutional.

The case, which was filed by John Sherman of the Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation and argued by Buckhead attorney John Woodham, has been quietly pinballing through the court system for four years.

The justices say in the 28-page opinion released today that Sherman’s challenges “lack merit.”

So sayeth the Supreme Court’s public information officer today in an opinion summary:

The case stems from plans by the city government of Atlanta to fund redevelopment projects in the BeltLine and Perry-Bolton “tax allocation districts,” or “TADs.” Such projects, which are part of the city’s efforts to redevelop some of its neighborhoods, use borrowed funds that are repaid by the increases in property tax revenue - ad valorem taxes - that are generated by the improvements. The use of the public funding helps entice private developers to invest.