The 14-member group, called the Vision 20/20 Committee, is charged with considering such topics as railroad quiet zones, downtown tree canopies, trash management and parking.
“We’re getting 14 people involved that will probably make major contributions to the city,” Tumlin said after the council unanimously approved the committee’s formation.
Each council member and the mayor will appoint one member, with the council also appointing one downtown restaurant owner and one shopkeeper.
The Downtown Marietta Development Authority gets to make two appointments and The Branding Project, an organization that promotes downtown Marietta, gets to appoint one member. The 14th member will be appointed to represent the downtown church community.
The city will send out notices to downtown churches, asking them to send a representative to a yet to be scheduled meeting, where each church representative will vote on the person they wish to represent the church community on the committee, said City Manager Bill Bruton.
Just as the commercial property owners in the Cumberland and Town Center Area Community Improvement Districts tax themselves the full five mills allowed by law to pay for improvements in those districts, the DMDA also has taxing power.
The DMDA currently taxes itself at 2.09 mills, but it could go to five mills if it wanted. Each mill generates about $80,000, Tumlin said.
“From what we’ve seen how CIDs have grown, they’re not timid,” Tumlin said. “The people in the CIDs gladly pay it because they can see the bang for their buck. That’s what I would hope the spirit that the city and the DMDA would work together with the merchants and the restaurants to combine all our resources together. We’re strapped, but I think (the DMDA) might be able to expand. I talked to (downtown property owner Gary Eubanks) for quiet railroad zones and things like that would you be willing to look at a tax increase, and he said, ‘yeah.’”
Reached by phone Wednesday evening, Marietta attorney Tom Browning, who chairs the DMDA, commented on the proposal, and whether he would consider raising the millage rate.
“I’m always open to that, and I’m always open to the city raising their millage rate, too,” Browning said. “I look to my constituency — what do the business people want.”
Tumlin hopes the members of the committee will be appointed and ready to begin meeting by Sept. 1, following the July 31 election to fill the seat vacated by former Councilman Van Pearlberg.