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13 May 2014

Fulton County Commission Delays Creating Airport West CID for Two Weeks

Supporters of the Airport West Community Improvement District (CID) learned recently that their efforts will be delayed once more.

At the 7 May 2014 meeting of the Fulton County Commission, county officials delayed a vote on creating the Airport West CID. The delay came after a 25-minute discussion (posted below) among county commissioners, which included a debate over the definition of contiguous versus continuous.

"Are the boundaries contiguous," south Fulton County Commissioner Bill Edwards asked David W. Fitzgibbon.

Fitzgibbon is the Chief Appraiser in the Fulton County Tax Assessor's office.

A new law, signed by Governor Deal in April, removed the Fulton County Tax Commissioner's authority to certify proposed community improvement districts, and gave that power to the chairperson of the Fulton County Board of Tax Assessors. The power transfer occurred after Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand delayed certifying the Airport West CID before crucial deadlines, costing an estimated $6 million-plus in funding for safety, traffic and aesthetic improvements in the greater south Fulton community.

Once he received a definition of contiguous from county attorney David Ware, Fitzgibbon replied, "If you the thoroughfares as connecting corridors, they would be contiguous. If you're asking if we have parcels on all sides of the roads, then I would have to say no. This map is extremely gerrymandered throughout this district."

Mr. County Attorney," Commmissioner Edwards started, "Does that meet the definition of contiguous?"

"It does not, as I am to understand the law requires," Ware responded.

Edwards, a Democrat up for re-election this year, says he does not believe the Airport West CID meets the minimum requirements of state law.

"As long as he says it is not contiguous, then we are missing a piece," Edwards said at the Fulton County Board of Commissioners meeting.

Fulton County Commission chairman John Eaves said he wanted some clarity from the Tax Assessors office on whether the proposed Airport West CID complied with state law.

"I'm just think, given some of the questions that are here, I'm not sure you're going to get the support," Eaves said. "There seems to be some ambiguity on compliance."

Four commissioners --John Eaves, Bill Edwards, Emma Darnell, and Joan Garner-- voted to delay action on the Airport West CID until the next county commission meeting.