Group calls for public referendum on new Falcons stadium - New York News

Group calls for public referendum on new Falcons stadium

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ATLANTA -

A government watchdog group wants the Atlanta City Council to put the Falcons stadium deal up for a public referendum.

Common Cause Georgia, along with state Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), say city leaders should allow voters to decide if $200 million in hotel/motel tax funds should be spent on the proposed billion-dollar stadium.

William Perry, executive director of Common Cause Georgia, is asking the people to sound off on the proposal.

"We're asking the people to contact members of the Atlanta City Council and ask them to let the people of Atlanta make the decision," Perry said.

But Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond says a public referendum on the proposed new Falcons stadium is not required by law.

"We're a city. We're subject to state law. We have to follow the state law, and the state law rests that decision with us, where it actually should be," Bond said.

Councilman Bond says using $200 million in hotel/motel tax money to help fund a new stadium an excellent deal. He points to Falcons owner Arthur Blank's offer to contribute $50 million to pay for infrastructure improvements and the fact that the current dome was fully funded with taxpayer funds.

"This will be one of the best stadium deals of its type in the country, bar none. And we're actually getting more out of the deal than we would if we were to renovate the existing dome," Bond said.

But Perry says it's too soon to call it a good deal because the final numbers aren't in yet.

"The public is ponying up an awful lot of money. We don't know what the total is the public is ponying up yet. And so until we know those numbers we can't say whether it's a good thing or not," Perry said.

Mayor Kasim Reed says the final deal for the new Falcons stadium should be on the desks of Atlanta City Councilmembers by the end of the month.

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