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Channel 26 MOST Story

Public Service Announcements

The Municipal Option Sales Tax is a 1-cent tax that applies to most goods purchased in the City of Atlanta. These funds allow visitors and business people who use the City’s water and sewer infrastructure but do not pay City water/sewer bills to help pay for upgrading and maintenance of the infrastructure. This is NOT a new tax; it is the reauthorization of an existing tax.

Tax is a 1-cent tax that applies to most goods purchased in the City of Atlanta. These funds allow visitors and business people who use the City’s water and sewer infrastructure but do not pay City water/sewer bills to help pay for upgrading and maintenance of the infrastructure. This is NOT a new tax; it is the reauthorization of an existing tax.

Department of Watershed Management Powerpoint

The History
The MOST was initially approved on July 20, 2004, and reauthorized by voters in 2008 by a 3-1 margin. From 2004 through 2010, it provided more than $700 million to help ensure Atlantans a future of clean, safe drinking water and environmentally sound wastewater treatment.

 Glass of Water

Why the MOST was conceived?
When the $4 billion Clean Water Atlanta Pro¬gram was first proposed in 2000, the City en-visioned paying for it through a combination of state and federal loans and grants, along with moderate rate increases. At a time of federal disinvestment in local infrastructure, it became clear that little federal money would be avail¬able. The state made $193 million available in the form of low-interest loans. Thus, the federally mandated work was possible only because of the revenues generated by water/sewer rates and revenues generated by the issuance of $3.66 billion worth of bonds. Revenues from the MOST enabled the Department to meet its minimum debt coverage obligations for those bonds in lieu of raising rates on users even higher that they have been.

Accomplishments
With the help of revenues generated from the MOST, the City has been able to repair and replace old, decrepit sewer lines in compliance with two federal consent decrees. The Clean Water Atlanta Program increased sewer capacity throughout the City, supporting billions of dollars in development that would otherwise not have been possible. The work also resulted in dramatic decreases in both the number and volume of sewer spills (62 percent and 97 percent decreases, respectively between 2004- 2010). Highlights of Clean Water Atlanta and Atlanta water infrastructure projects include:

With the help of revenues generated from the MOST, the City has been able to repair and replace old, decrepit sewer lines in compliance with two federal consent decrees. The Clean Water Atlanta Program increased sewer capacity throughout the City, supporting billions of dollars in development that would otherwise not have been possible. The work also resulted in dramatic decreases in both the number and volume of sewer spills (62 percent and 97 percent decreases, respectively between 2004- 2010). Highlights of Clean Water Atlanta and Atlanta water infrastructure projects include:

  • Separation of 33 miles of combined sewers in the McDaniel, Greensferry and Stockade sewer basins, decreasing combined sewer overflows by 75 percent and adding sewer capacity to support additional development;
  • Construction of the Nancy Creek Tunnel, which has virtually eliminated sanitary sewer overflows in North Atlanta;
  • Construction of the West Area Tunnel, which has reduced combined sewer overflows from West Atlanta to the Historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhoods;
  • Recent completion of the South River Tunnel, which is expected to reduce sanitary sewer overflows in Southeast Atlanta;
  • Inspection of 1,596 miles of Atlanta’s 1,600 miles of sewer pipe, and rehabilitation/replacement of  460 miles of pipe that was determined to be damaged and leaking;
  • Commencement of a five-year Leak Detection Program under which City crews have, to date, inspected 335 miles of the more than 2,700 miles of water mains and repaired 19 locations identified as leaking;

The MOST has generated $700 million since 2004, money that has made it possible for the Department to issue the bonds that largely funded Clean Water Atlanta without increasing rates even higher than they were.

Ballot Language:
Shall a special 1 percent sales and use tax be reimposed in the City of Atlanta for a period not to exceed 16 calendar quarters and for the raising of not more than $750, 000, 000 for the purpose of funding water and sewer projects and costs?
Voters supporting reauthorization of the sales tax should vote YES; voters opposing the reauthorization should vote NO

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FAQs  

  • What is the MOST? (Municipal Option Sales Tax)
    The municipal option sales tax (MOST) is one tool the City of Atlanta uses to finance the federally mandated Clean Water Atlanta infrastructure overhaul and keep water rates lower than they would be otherwise. Initially approved by Atlanta voters in July 2004 and reauthorized in 2008 with 71 percent of the vote, the MOST also allows the City
    to spread the financing of the $4 billion Clean Water Atlanta water and sewer infrastructure improvement program to visitors and business travelers who use our infrastructure every day but do not pay City of Atlanta water/ sewer bills.
  • How much is the water and sewer tax or MOST?
    The MOST is a 1-cent tax on most products purchased inside the City.
  • Does the MOST apply to all goods?
    No. There are exemptions: school lunch¬es, medical equipment like eyeglasses and wheelchairs, prescription medication, sales to Grady Hospital and other non-profit health care facilities, food purchased with WIC coupons and automobiles.
  • When is the vote on the reauthorization of the MOST?
    The MOST reauthorization measure will be on the March 6, 2012, primary ballot.
  • Does reauthorization mean an additional 1-cent tax?
    No. It is merely a reauthorization of the existing 1-cent tax. If the MOST passes, Atlanta’s in-City tax rate will remain at the current level of 8 percent for another four years.
  • How does the MOST affect water/sewer rates?
    The City estimates that Atlanta’s already high water/sewer rates would have to increase by 25 to 30 percent without the MOST.
 
 
Last updated: 4/25/2013 4:33:27 PM