Funding Development Projects in Atlanta, Georgia: How Bonds Can Help

Recent data on bond sales is available and, if there are any upcoming bond sales, related information will be provided. The State of Georgia offers the Quick Start program, which develops and provides tailored training at no cost to new, expanding and existing companies that meet the criteria. This organization can collaborate with WorkSource Atlanta to offer a comprehensive workforce development program for the company. The city of Atlanta has several areas that consist of “less developed census districts” and opportunity zones. WorkSource Atlanta helps companies hire qualified employees, develop a workforce equipped with relevant skills through personalized work-based training programs, and enhance the skills of their current workforce.

One tool used by the DAFC is to analyze the current taxes that are paid for the plots of a proposed project compared to the projected taxes after the completion of the proposed project, also known as the limit rate. In addition, many of these economic development opportunities work closely with ABI and pay for parts of the trail themselves, grant easements or even donate land to ABI, in addition to offering additional services, such as outdoor park spaces, seating areas and art installations, among other things. As a result, even if certain projects move forward without incentives, developers will undoubtedly have to make cuts that reduce the value of the project, reduce the benefit to the tax base, donate less to the community and will focus less on using the MFBE for project development, operations and management. For project owners and developers, bonds are an often overlooked source of capital that can offer significant tax advantages, reducing the total cost of financing projects. If a project does not have the merits to justify the approval of an incentive, those conversations take place long before any DAFC meeting and those projects do not go to the level of the Board of Directors.

When vacant land is developed and outdated facilities are modernized, its assessed value increases, resulting in higher property tax liabilities every year. This means that regardless of the size, scope and number of projects facilitated by the DAFC that are in the TAD, there will be no fiscal impact on APS, Fulton County or the city of Atlanta before the TAD expires. This discretionary fund is structured on a project-by-project basis based on criteria such as job retention and creation in Atlanta city limits, financial strength of companies involved in projects and amount of business investment in them. Companies and developers have options when it comes to deciding how to spend their capital and have internal thresholds that they must meet before they can continue with a project. In addition to tax-exempt funding for manufacturing and other qualified projects including 501 (c) projects under federal law, many state and local governments offer taxable bonds as a way to encourage economic development.

We observed that many times the amount of projected incentive is actually lower than some of these extraordinary costs that many DAFC projects face. Bonds can be an effective way for businesses in Atlanta to fund development projects. They provide tax advantages which can reduce total financing costs while also providing access to capital for businesses who may not otherwise qualify for traditional financing options. Furthermore, bonds can help businesses meet their internal thresholds for funding projects while also providing benefits to local communities through job creation and increased tax revenue.