Atlanta city and school officials on Friday, Jan. 29, announced an agreement they say will allow continued development of the BeltLine while providing payments to the Atlanta Public Schools.

“Today, we have reached an agreement that will not only benefit our students but ensure the continued development of one of our city’s most transformative projects – the Atlanta BeltLine,” Mayor Kasim Reed said in a press release.

Reed joined Atlanta Board of Education Chair Courtney English, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. President and CEO Paul Morris, and Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell and members of the Atlanta City Council to announce an agreement.

The original agreement to create and fund the Atlanta BeltLine was designed prior to the Great Recession, the city said. In that agreement, in exchange for APS contributing a portion of its tax revenues to the project, the city of Atlanta, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and Invest Atlanta pay the school system “Payments in Lieu of Taxes,” known as PILOTs.

The payments were “unsustainable,” the city said in its press release, “and would halt the progress” of the BeltLine. The new agreement restructures the payments and ensures the future development of the Atlanta BeltLine in a way that reflects current economic realities as well as APS’ need for guaranteed revenue, the city said in its release.

“I want to thank Mayor Reed for his efforts in reaching a compromise, which I believe is in the best interest of Atlanta Public Schools, our city, and the BeltLine,” English said. “This new agreement provides financial certainty for APS that will be used to further our turnaround efforts and protects the future success of the BeltLine.”

According to the city’s statement, major terms under the new agreement are as follows:

• The proposed settlement represents a 42 percent savings over the life of the IGA, as amended, from approximately $174,936,302.00 to $100,767,577.00

• APS will receive $73,500,000.00 in PILOTs between 2017 and 2031. This amount represents a 55 percent reduction in PILOTs.

• APS will receive $14,767,577.00 in past due PILOTs, of which $9.1 million was paid on December 29, 2015.

• APS will also receive a parcel of land and an additional $10 million on July 1, 2017.

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.