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11 March 2014

Lawmakers Seek Changes to Community Improvement District Law After Failure of Airport West CID

By all accounts, the Airport West Community Improvement District (CID) was a done deal.

CID organizers received the blessing of Fulton County Commissioner Bill Edwards and other regional and local officials. $145,000 was raised to fund initial CID operations, including $50,000 from the City of College Park and $15,000 from Woodward Academy. Representatives with the proposed Airport West CID told Georgia Unfiltered, in June, that they submitted documentation to Fulton County Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand showing the proposed CID met all the requirements under state law.

Why, then, did Ferdinand fail to certify the Airport West CID, costing the group funding estimated at more than $6 million this year?

While CID organizers continue their search for answers to that question, a group of Fulton County lawmakers are seeking to strip Arthur Ferdinand of his authority to certify proposed community improvement districts in Fulton County.

House Bill 1115, introduced by Rep. Harry Geisinger (R - Roswell), would transfer from Arthur Ferdinand the right to certify CIDs and put it in the hands of the Fulton County Tax Assessors. The bill would also require proposed CIDs be certified within sixty (60) days of the Tax Assessors receiving documentation showing a proposed CID met all the requirements under state law.

The Fulton County Commission opposes HB1115. However, there may be little the Democrat-controlled Commission can do to stop the bill from passing.

House Bill 1115 was introduced as local legislation, meaning the bill only needs a majority of Fulton County legislators to sign off on the proposal in order for it to be voted upon by the full House. Republicans hold a majority of the seats in the Fulton County legislative delegation.