Atlanta officials approve money for businesses impacted by water main breaks

(The Center Square) — Atlanta city officials have approved $7.5 million for a fund ostensibly intended to help small businesses impacted by a series of water main breaks that brought the city to a crawl for days.

The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved the measure after increasing the fund’s total from $5 million as called for in the initial resolution. Atlanta Councilmember Matt Westmoreland was the measure’s main sponsor.

According to documents, the city will transfer the money for the program from its Water and Wastewater Revenue Fund to Invest Atlanta. Invest Atlanta will work with Atlanta’s Watershed Management and Finance departments to develop a methodology for determining eligibility and calculating payment amounts businesses will receive.

In a statement, Mayor Andre Dickens said that because “there is a need for this assistance,” “getting money in the hands of the impacted small businesses and their employees remains a priority.” During a Finance/Executive Committee meeting last week, council members expressed the need for speed in distributing the funds.

Applications will open on Monday, and any money not spent by June 30, 2025, will return to the Water and Wastewater Revenue Fund. However, the measure excludes some businesses, including adult businesses and government-owned entities, from accessing the fund.

Meanwhile, the city faces a water system that reports indicate could take years and cost billions to repair. During an Atlanta City Council meeting earlier this month, Atlanta Chief Operating Officer LaChandra Burks said city workers were repairing aging pipes, some of which dated to the 1920s, adding that “our infrastructure is crumbling.”

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

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