Atlanta intends to use a fledgling state-authorized financing program to help property owners pay for upgrades to energy and water systems in commercial buildings in downtown Atlanta.
A partner in Atlanta’s new energy effort is Ben Taube, formerly the executive director of Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance. Taube now serves as president of BLT Sustainable Energy Inc., which on June 28 helped organize the company that on Oct. 18 got the city’s green light for a deal – Ygrene Energy Fund, which is affiliated with a California-based company of the same name.
Program advocates have their work cut out. For starters, the Atlanta City Council has yet to create the special tax district in which the financing program will function. Also, little guidance is available from other programs because few, if any, other governments in Georgia have enacted the system since its creation in 2010.
The financing district that’s to be created will raise money in ways similar to that used by the popular community improvement districts, or CIDs. Through CIDs, property owners in a defined geographic area agree to pay higher property taxes in order to pay for community-wide improvements.
Metro Atlanta has about 15 CIDs, and their programs include public safety efforts in Midtown and Downtown; transportation upgrades near Cumberland and Perimeter malls, and Stone Mountain; and a new linear park in Buckhead.