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Atlanta City Council approves $2.75B fiscal 2025 budget

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(The Center Square) — The Atlanta City Council has unanimously approved a more than $2.7 billion fiscal 2025 budget, which officials termed “historic.”

The spending plan, passed as the city grappled with a series of water main breaks, is roughly 8.8% more than the fiscal 2024 budget the council adopted and about 9.2% higher than the actual fiscal 2023 budget.

The fiscal 2025 budget includes a $853.8 million General Fund, a roughly 8% increase from the adopted fiscal 2024 budget but about a 3.8% decrease from actual fiscal 2023 spending. It also includes more than $1.5 billion in Enterprise Funds, which include the Aviation Revenue and the Water and Wastewater Revenue funds, and $352.5 million from five “other” funds, including the Hotel/Motel Tax Fund.

The budget includes $306.3 million for the city’s police department. The city’s General Fund funds nearly 84.2% — or roughly $257.8 million — of the department’s budget, with Airport Revenue and the Emergency Telephone System funds covering the rest.

The police budget represents a 3.9% increase from the adopted budget for fiscal 2024 and a 13.2% increase from the city’s actual spending on police in fiscal 2022. The budget increases the number of full-time equivalent police department employees by 102 to 2,809.

Repairing the city’s aging infrastructure is likely to remain a hot topic following the water main breaks that brought Georgia’s capital city to a halt for days. The budget includes a roughly 13.3% budget increase for the city’s Department of Watershed Management.

Unrelated to the breaks, Atlanta voters last month approved a 1-cent sales tax on most goods purchased and services performed within the city. Proceeds from the Municipal Option Sales Tax will help pay for the Combined Sewer Overflows Consent Decree and the Sanitary Sewer Overflows Consent Decree issued in 1998 and 1999, which mandate the city to make water and sewer improvements.

Atlanta voters first approved a MOST in July 2004 and have re-upped it every four years since its initial passage. Since October 2004, the MOST has generated more than $1.8 billion.

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