Atlanta Takes Aim At DeKalb’s HOST Money

With budget shortfalls and furloughs, the City of Atlanta is looking for a piece of DeKalb County’s Homestead Option Sales Tax (HOST) pie.  DeKalb County created the 1-percent sales tax on most goods sold in the County in 1997 to offset property taxes on homeowners and to fund infrastructure projects, such as new sidewalks and paving some streets.

About 33,000 Atlantans live in portions of the city that are within the boundaries of DeKalb, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission. They live in neighborhoods such as Candler Park, Druid Hills, East Lake, Edgewood and Kirkwood.  Councilwoman Natalyn Mosby Archibong believes the city could be in line for about $10 million a year.

East Lake resident Kyle Caldwell believes the money from HOST can be used for projects such as building new sidewalks near Drew Charter School.

“It’s very hard to push a stroller on these sidewalks,” said Caldwell, 46, who’s lived in East Lake for more than 10 years.

Caldwell said he’s pressed DeKalb officials for years for a breakdown of how much money from HOST has been collected in East Lake and how much has been spent on projects in that community.

“I did not know it had been this long,” said Councilwoman Anne Fauver, who co-sponsored legislation supporting Archibong’s plan and represents portions of DeKalb. “The city tends to think of itself as Fulton County, regardless of the fact that 11 or 12 percent of its residents live in DeKalb.”

DeKalb County recently suffered a set back when the Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter ruledthat the County had to share HOST revenues with the newly created City of Dunwoody.  DeKalb County continues to litigate with its cities over the share each are entitled to receive.

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