CUMBERLAND — Member property owners in the Cumberland Community Improvement District will still pay their 5-mill property tax rate after CID board members Thursday voted to keep the rate as is.
Established in 1988, the Cumberland CID is a self-taxing district that imposes an extra tax on commercial property owners within its boundaries. Five mills is the maximum rate the CID can impose and has not changed since the CID’s inception.
The CID had advertised a 5-mill rate following board members’ agreement last month to do so, though some had expressed a desire to see funding projections under possible lower millage rates. Every 1 mill of property tax within the CID collects between $1.3 million and $1.4 million per year, according to Mike Winters, the CID’s controller.
Board members ultimately supported Bob Voyles’ proposal to keep the rate unchanged, citing potential regional projects the CID may choose to be a part of and unknown costs of such.
“(CID Executive Director) Kim (Menefee) is still relatively new in her position. There’s been a lot of discussion among various members of the board about looking strategically at the next group of things we want to do — you’ve got a transportation referendum coming up in the county (in 2022) that we’ll most certainly will be right in the center of that because the Cumberland district is in the heart of the county commercially,” Voyles said. “We need … to be coordinating and maybe be doing some additional analysis and studies about how we’re going to intersect with whatever we’re calling the (future) toll lanes on (Interstate) 285, (on) 75 what transit components may come.”
Voicing agreement with Voyles ahead of the unanimous vote to maintain the 5-mill rate was Mason Zimmerman, who also cited a projected reassessment of commercial properties in 2020, which could likely lead to higher property values of those in the district.
“I’d like to keep our powder dry for a millage rate cut if we need to offset that, which it sounds like we may need to,” Zimmerman said.
Thursday’s meeting also saw board members and other attendees celebrate with applause this week’s announcement that Cobb County would be receiving $5 million in federal Infrastructure For Rebuilding America grant funds to help fully fund a ramp onto the toll lanes at Akers Mill Road.
The CID has been spearheading the effort to build a new ramp at Akers Mill Road aimed at giving drivers commuting through the area access to the nearly 30 miles of tolled reversible express lanes that run along Interstates 75 and 575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties.
CID board members voted quickly to approve a final $90,000 toward the overall $44 million project. Menefee has said Tuesday that $90,000 was the amount needed to totally close the funding gap.
U.S. Department of Transportation officials were expected to officially announce the INFRA grant winners Thursday afternoon.
Construction on the Akers Mill ramp is expected to start construction in 2021 and be completed in 2023.
In another transportation-related matter, board members heard from state Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, who spoke briefly on freight traffic across Georgia and ways the state may try to address it. He invited the board to attend a meeting that would feature GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry speaking on the status of freight and logistics in the state.
The meeting is at 10 a.m. Aug. 14 at Georgia Department of Transportation headquarters in downtown Atlanta.
In other business, board members unanimously approved:
♦ A $15,000 expenditure to join several other metro Atlanta CIDs and cities in an Interstate 285 transit feasibility study.
♦ A $33,750 contract with Atlanta-based Bleakly Advisory Group to perform an updated e♦ conomic impact analysis on the CID.
♦ Giving Menefee the go-ahead to begin a search for a communication and outreach manager with a salary not to exceed $70,000.