Common Cause Georgia, a watchdog group, is requesting that Atlanta schedule a referendum on public financing for the Falcons’ $1 billion new stadium.
The organization filed a notice at city hall May 30 pronouncing that it would obtain thousands of signatures in 60 days in an apparent attempt to force the referendum.
“We have filed the paperwork with the city and are currently waiting to receive the official petition form so that we can begin collecting signatures,” the group said on its website.
Common Cause said if the signatures are collected, voters would cast ballots in this year’s municipal elections seeking to repeal the City Council’s resolution authorizing hotel-motel tax revenues for the project.
Mayor Kasim Reed accused the organization’s executive director William Perry of sacrificing the group’s reputation “for the sake of furthering his own personal ambition” and attempting to derail the stadium development.
“The state-of-the-art facility is going to help strengthen the city’s $10 billion tourism and convention industry and the 220,000 jobs it supports, spur economic development in the surrounding neighborhoods, and keep the Atlanta Falcons in the heart of downtown for the next 30 years,” Reed said in a statement.
A legal dispute has developed over whether a petition process to seek a referendum even exists.
In March, the Atlanta City Council approved $200 million of municipal bonds secured by the hotel-motel tax to support the Falcon’s $1 billion stadium financing. The remaining $800 million will come from the Falcons, the NFL, and personal seat licenses.
Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development agency, will issue the 30-year bonds next year.