Vote miscount causes trouble for Marietta CID
by Hilary Butschek
June 10, 2014 04:00 AM | 4045 views | 1 1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Because of a vote miscount by city staff, Marietta’s new community improvement district is in danger of dissolving before it gets off the ground.

A CID is formed when commercial property owners in an area agree to tax themselves at a higher rate, up to 5 additional mills. Those tax dollars are leveraged to secure larger sums from the state and federal government, which in turn are used to pay for area infrastructure improvements.

A majority, or 51 percent, of the property owners inside a proposed CID must agree to tax themselves to create the district.

Although the new Gateway Marietta Community Improvement District began with 51 percent of the property owners in favor, city officials mistakenly gave one man two votes because he owned two pieces of property. But, those two pieces of property were part of a trust, so he should have only received one vote, said Brian Binzer, the city’s development services manager.

Cobb’s tax assessor spotted the mistake, Binzer said. Now, the majority of property owners no longer stands because it lost one vote due to the miscount.

“The property had to be counted one time. It couldn’t be counted two times,” Binzer said.

The City Council on Wednesday is considering regaining the majority vote by excluding one property from the CID that didn’t want to be included in the first place.

Two properties near Delk Road and Interstate 75, which are part of a trust in the name of Ruben McMullan, will be counted as one property instead of two because they are owned by the same man, and a property at 3001 Kingston Court owned by Matthews International Corporation, an investment company, will be taken out of the CID under the proposal.

The CID, which was approved at the May City Council meeting in a 7-0 vote, was originally thought to include 33 businesses in a total area of 0.84 square miles located along Franklin Road, but now it includes 31 property owners, Binzer said.

Mayor Steve Tumlin said the property is being removed because any other solution would cause the CID to have to start over.

“It’s too late for us to completely go back to the drawing board,” Tumlin said.

The properties are being moved around in an attempt to make the CID still legally valid, said Lynn Rainey, an attorney for 14 CIDs in the Atlanta area who is handling the Marietta CID’s legal matters.

“In order to have the majority of the property owners consenting, they have to remove that property,” Rainey said.

The mayor said the change is technical but doesn’t have a large impact on the CID.

“It’s harmless to a degree, but it is a change,” Tumlin said.

The Marietta Gateway community will have its first governing meeting June 30.

Its governing board, which has not yet been decided, will have seven members, of which one will be appointed by the mayor and City Council. All board members must own property in the CID.

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June 10, 2014
RE: "A CID is formed when commercial property owners in an area agree to tax themselves at a higher rate, up to 5 additional mills." ---

NO. Absolutely NOT true. The CID is when commercial property owners in an area agree to IMPOSE and COLLECT taxes from the people (who have NO SAY) who come in to their establishments to do business. The property owners merely hand the taxes collected over to their buddies in the CID...which is unaccountable to anybody. not perpetuate the fraudulent notion that these CID cronies are paying any taxes "THEMSELVES".

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