Atlanta’s Norwood: No tax break for Sandtown

Councilwoman Mary Norwood

Councilwoman Mary Norwood

As we reported in today’s AJC, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has offered residents of the unincorporated Sandtown community a 10-year property tax freeze if they decide to be annexed into the city.

Reed told residents that – under certain circumstances – he’d ask the City Council to ensure Sandtown residents would not pay higher taxes by moving to Atlanta. But at least one City Council member thinks a tax break for Sandtown is a bad idea.

Councilwoman Mary Norwood said Atlanta already has too many inequities when it comes to property taxes. She said residents in some neighborhoods – through no fault of their own – pay little or no taxes because their property values have been decimated by mortgage fraud and foreclosures. Other neighborhoods have seen stable or rising real estate values – and bear a disproportionate share of the tax burden, she said.

Norwood said such inequities are “unsustainable” and should not be exacerbated through the kind of tax breaks Reed has proposed.

“I don’t want us to perpetuate a tale of two cities,” she said. “We certainly cannot now afford to acquire additional land without the commensurate tax base to provide services to all that new land.”

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