Could Atlanta's king of fried chicken be playing chicken with Sandy Springs over a tax issue? We spoke with Stan Stout, chief people and technology officer with Popeyes Chicken, who says the fast-food operator may move its HQ from the City of Sandy Springs due to an increase in its occupational business tax amount in the realm of ?six figures.?
?It is a bullet point on the ledger whether you move outside [the city] or not,? Stan tells us. The move would be easy since Popeyes HQ is at Glenridge Highlands One within Central Perimeter, with lots of office buildings nearby, but outside Sandy Springs. We reported Aug. 26 that AFC, the parent of Popeyes, hired the firm Joel & Granot to scout for 40K SF of office space around the area. Sandy Springs city attorney Wendell Willard says the issue boils down to a recent city audit where it found AFC and other local businesses weren't paying the full value of their occupational business tax. He says the city is only following state law that outlines what it's able to collect. Critics say Sandy Springs is levying the tax on revenue a corporation is generating from outside the city limits. Power brokers in the Central Perimeter area have been meeting and discussing the issue for months, including the Perimeter Community Improvement District, which is evaluating the occupational tax increases as part of a report on the cost of doing business in cities and counties in the Central Perimeter district.