NORTH FULTON, Ga. – It may be hard to believe commercial property owners are willing to pay higher taxes than the government says are due, but the commercial properties in the North Fulton Community Improvement District (CID) along the Ga. 400 corridor have done exactly that for more than a decade.
From Mansell Road north to McGinnis Ferry Road covering portions of Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton, the North Fulton CID uses the extra tax dollars to ease traffic congestion and be a “catalyst for economic development.”
“The CID is a special purpose tax district that voluntarily pays additional tax to finance public infrastructure projects,” said North Fulton CID Executive Director Ann Hanlon. “In doing so, they improve their properties as well.”
Those collected extra taxes go into a fund controlled by the CID and used in a variety of ways to improve the economic health of the district.
CID members represent the development community, and they have a large stake in the economic viability in the region. The CID allows them to pool significant amounts of funds – their own – and then leverage those dollars with state and local governments to get infrastructure projects that benefit the entire community off the drawing board and in the ground.
In the last 10 years, the NFCID has spent $18 million for specific projects that leveraged an additional $85 million in federal, state and local funds, Hanlon said. That is a return of 5 to 1.
Pope and Land Senior Vice President Kerry Armstrong serves as the NFCID Board chairman this year. He says the NFCID looks at transportation issues, workforce issues and mobility issues. When the NFCID came together, it had two major issues to solve. First, it had to amass the resources to take on projects.
Next, the NFCID had to choose projects that met the goals of the NFCID members.
“One of the first was to get Westside Parkway completed, improved and expanded from Mansell Road to Windward,” Armstrong said.
It can be difficult when two or more cities are working on a joint project, Armstrong said. It is hard for them to balance the burdens and the benefits of the project equally.
“But when you have a credible third party that has money, it can step in and be the glue to hold the project together – or to give it a shot in the arm. That’s what the CID can do. We can keep the momentum going and helped build the cooperation to get a project done,” Armstrong said.