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30 April 2014

Airport West CID Finally Certified After Losing Millions Due to Tax Commissioner's Delay

Supporters of the Airport West Community Improvement District (CID) earned a bittersweet victory last week after Fulton County Tax Assessors certified that the proposed CID met the state required threshold.

Georgia law mandates a majority of the owners of real property representing at least 75 percent by value of all real property within the proposed CID must first provide written consent before the community improvement district can be formed.

The CID certification, however, does not bring back an estimated $6 million-plus in funding for safety, traffic and aesthetic improvements in the greater south Fulton community. This funding was lost after continued delays from Fulton County Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand resulted in the CID not receiving its certification ahead of application deadlines for grants and other money sources.

The Airport West Community Improvement District was certified after Governor Deal signed House Bill 1115 taking away Ferdinand's power to give approval to CIDs in Fulton County. The new law now authorizes the chairperson of the Fulton County Board of Tax Assessors to certify whether a proposed community improvement district meets the requirements of state law.

Airport West CID organizer Emory Morsberger of the Morsberger Group, a firm that specializes in establishing community improvement districts across metro Atlanta, is rumored to have pushed the change in state law.

CBS Atlanta reported in December 2013 that Airport West CID supporters accused Fulton County Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand of "stalling progress" [King, Christopher (10 December 2013). South Fulton residents accuse tax commissioner of stalling progress. WGCL-TV. Retrieved on 30 April 2014.].

South Fulton County business leaders are still wondering why it took a change in state law to get their community improvement district certified.

Now that the Airport West CID has been certified, the cities of Atlanta, College Park, East Point, and Fulton County will have to give final approval to the proposed tax district.