The City Council authorized staff to explore the feasibility of creating a Marietta CID in the Interstate 75/Highway 41 corridor in a 6-0 vote during its Wednesday evening meeting.
City Manager Bill Bruton said the CID would basically be bordered by the South Loop to the north and Windy Hill Road to the south in between Cobb Parkway and I-75. It would also include Southern Polytechnic and Life universities and Franklin Road.
Mayor Steve Tumlin said he began discussions on creating the new CID just four days before he heard of a plan to extend the Cumberland CID into the city, taking that district north of Windy Hill Road, east of I-75 and south of Delk and Powers Ferry roads, much of the area included in the proposed Marietta CID.
Tumlin said the city’s only responsibility with the CID would be to provide tax collection services, but he felt it may be easier for business owners in the CID, who tax themselves in order to pay for improvements to parks, transportation and infrastructure, to be totally within the city limits than divided between the city and the unincorporated county, like Cumberland would be.
“If the CID’s both in the city and the county, you’ve got two governments to work with,” he said. “We would like to look and see before we lose some good prospects to someone else.”
Currently, the process of setting up a CID is in the early stages, Tumlin said.
“It’s purely knocking on a few doors, and seeing if we had a meeting, who would show up,” he said. “The city can’t be a part of a CID, but we can offer a chance for people to get together.”
The CID could help Franklin Road, currently a blighted apartment corridor, find new life, Tumlin said.
“Do we need quite that many apartments on Franklin Road? In my opinion, no,” Tumlin said. “Could that be a booming industrial area? It’s probably more suitable for business than residential because of traffic flow.”
In order to create a new CID, someone needs to create boundaries for a proposed district, according to Marietta attorney Lynn Rainey, who represents the 14 CIDs in the Atlanta area, including Cumberland and Town Center, Cobb’s two districts. They would then need written consent of at least 50 percent of the commercial property owners in the proposed district, as well as people who own at least 75 percent of the actual commercial property in the district. Businesses with residential components are not counted toward the total needed to become a CID because the extra taxes only apply to businesses.
Local governments would also need to sign off on the CID and would be represented on the district’s board.
The two Cobb CIDs tax themselves five mills above the regular tax rates on commercial properties in their districts.
Cobb has two CIDs, compared to seven in Fulton County and five in Gwinnett County, Rainey said. While Cobb’s two CIDs are both located in unincorporated areas, that isn’t the case with all of them, with some, like Buckhead and Midtown, located in the city of Atlanta and the South Fulton CID taking up parts of three different cities. While some CIDs are anchored by malls or high-rise office buildings, others are created for different purposes, like improving freight access.
“CIDs ideally work in highly concentrated commercial areas,” Rainey said. “If you look at west Cobb and east Cobb, you really have more residential areas, and residential areas don’t receive the CID tax.”
Council also gave 6-0 approval to annexing 22 homes in the Bellemeade Farms subdivision. The request for annexation was made by six residents of the development, located near the intersection of Sandtown and Austell roads, who wanted their children to be able to attend the city of Marietta’s Dunleith Elementary School, located adjacent to the subdivision. They have been attending Cobb County’s Fair Oaks Elementary School several miles away.
“This is a great example of a neighborhood that got together and said, ‘How can we make our neighborhood a better place, and how can we increase our property values?’” Councilman Johnny Sinclair said. “I’m very happy that the solution for them is to come into the city. They believe it will do great things for their property values and the quality of the education that they’re going to receive.”
Council also unanimously voted to renew its employee group health plan with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Georgia for calendar year 2013. Bruton said the renewal will mean a 5.8 percent increase in health insurance costs for city employees.
Councilman Anthony Coleman also announced that part of the roundabout at Fairground Street and Allgood Road was to open at 1 a.m. today. The SPLOST-funded project cost $450,000 to build, with another $193,111 in right-of-way expenses.
“We’re excited to see the improvements on Allgood,” Coleman said. “Certainly it’s going to cut down on a lot of fatalities on Allgood.”
Councilman Jim King didn’t attend the voting portion of the meeting.