COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS

 

By J. Lynn Rainey, P.C.

 

I.          CONSTITUTIONAL BASIS

All Community Improvement Districts (CIDs) in Georgia are founded pursuant to Article 9, Section VII of the Georgia Constitution.  The amendment providing for this type entity was approved by the voters in 1984. 

II.         PURPOSES

A CID may be created for one or more of the following governmental services and facilities:

III.        LOCAL LEGISLATION

Although the Constitution allows for CIDs, there must be local legislation passed by the Georgia Legislature providing for CIDs within a specified county or municipality, or both.  In other words, there is a Cobb County CID Act, Atlanta CID Act, Fulton County CID Act, Gwinnett County CID Act, etc.  Without the local legislation, no CID may be established within a jurisdiction.

IV.       CREATION

CIDs are actually brought into being through the enactment by the local government(s) of a resolution and the consent of the governed.  The Georgia Constitution sets forth the following conditions precedent to the creation of a CID:

As a practical matter, the impetus for creating CIDs has thus far come from commercial property owners.  It is these interests that have organized committees, hired an attorney and administrator, and solicited the requisite number of consents from their fellow commercial property owners.

The actual geographical area which defines a CID has likewise been determined by the organizers.  Typically, a target area is identified and commercial property owners are asked to sign consent forms agreeing to their inclusion within the district.  As a critical mass is reached, the district shape is molded so that the consent of a majority of the owners representing at least 75% of the property value is achieved.

It is important to note here that residential property owners are not included in the calculations.

The next step is certification by the County Tax Commissioner that the percentages of approval have been reached.  Next, the County Board of Commissioners and/or City Council must pass a resolution consenting to the creation of the district.

V.        ADMINISTRATION

            A CID is a governmental entity administered by a Board of Directors.  The make-up of the Board is set forth in the local legislation, allowing for CIDs within a jurisdiction.  There are elected board members, and appointed board members, in each district.  The number of each varies as follows:

Some board members are elected on ballots weighted by value of property interests, and some based upon one vote per owner, regardless of value.  Terms of office are also set by the legislation and resolution creating the district.

VI.       TAXES

The board raises funds by setting an ad valorem millage rate on real property, specifically excluding property used residentially.  The constitutional upper limit is 2 1/2 percent of the assessed value (which is 25 mills), but at least one local law (Cobb County) has placed the ceiling at 5 mills.  The millage rate is placed upon the regular tax bills sent by the Tax Commissioner, who transmits the collected taxes to the CID Board for expenditure in accordance with the purposes of the District.

VII.      EXISTING CIDS

Almost all CIDs in existence are in the Atlanta area, although there is no reason why they could not be created in other jurisdictions of the State provided the local delegations passed the appropriate legislation.  Those with an elected Board of Directors include:

The projects which have been funded, and which are planned, vary from district to district, but include:


Video Illustration of a CID
- Buckhead CID: www.buckheadcid.com

- Cumberland CID: www.cumberlandcid.org

- Evermore CID: www.evermorecid.org

- Fulton Perimeter CID: www.perimetercid.org

- Gwinnett Place CID: www.gwinnettplacecid.com

- Gwinnett Village CID: www.gwinnettvillage.com

- Town of Braselton CID (Braselton): www.braseltonlifepath.com

- Lilburn CID: www.lilburncid.com

- Midtown CID: www.midtownalliance.org

- North Fulton CID: www.northfultoncid.com

- South Fulton CID: www.southfultoncid.com

- The Boulevard Improvement District (Fulton County): www.boulevardcid.org

- Town Center Area CID: www.tcacid.com/index

- Stone Mountain CID: www.stonemountaincid.com