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Atlanta voters approve 1-cent sales tax

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(The Center Square) — Atlanta voters this week approved a 1-cent sales tax on most goods purchased and services performed within the city.

Proceeds from the Municipal Option Sales Tax, which are capped at $1.1 billion, will help pay for a pair of decades-old federal consent decrees Atlanta faces. The Combined Sewer Overflows Consent Decree and the Sanitary Sewer Overflows Consent Decree issued in 1998 and 1999 mandate the city to make water and sewer improvements, which city officials estimate will cost $4 billion.

Atlanta voters first approved a MOST on July 20, 2004, and have re-upped it every four years since its initial passage. According to city officials, since October 2004, it has generated more than $1.8 billion.

Roughly three-quarters of Atlanta voters in DeKalb and Fulton counties cast ballots in favor of the tax. Without it, city officials contend they would need to increase water and sewer rates by 25%.

“Thank you to Atlanta for your overwhelming support for the Municipal Option Sales Tax (MOST) on this week’s ballot,” Mayor Andre Dickens said in a statement. “This one cent sales tax—which is shared by residents and visitors alike—keeps our city’s water and sewer infrastructure improvements moving forward without raising the price of services, which disproportionately affects our most vulnerable communities.”

Voters in College Park also approved a four-year, 1-cent extension of its MOST, which will collect up to $50 million for water and sewer projects. Fulton County elections numbers show nearly 67.3% of voters cast ballots in favor of the tax.