A group of businesses in the Stone Mountain Industrial Park area want to tax themselves and use the funds to spur local economic development.
On April 26, the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners approved a community improvement district (CID) consisting of 88 property owners with a total property value of approximately $241 million.
“One of the benefits of the CID is somebody wakes up every morning thinking about how they’re going to improve the CID instead of just selling widgets in China,” said Emory Morsberger, a founder of the CID.
The majority of commercial property owners, who own 75 percent of the value of properties within the district, consented to form the CID. The main priorities of the business owners are improving property values, security and quality of life.
Beautification of the district is another goal.
“It just looks kind of rough,” Morsberger said.
Coming off of U.S. 78, there is a rusty and broken guard rail; overgrown grass; and junky signs on utility poles.
“There are a number of things that can be fixed up at minimal cost,” Morsberger said. “The owners want to make the area more attractive and inviting.”
Joddie Gray, of Urbantrans Consultants, said the CID would increase the sense of community for the area.
“Now, all the property owners will be working for a common goal,” Gray said.
The next step is to advertise for the June 16 election of a CID board, consisting of seven members, two of whom would be appointed by the Board of Commissioners.
Morsberger said the first job of the board will be to set a millage rate for the CID. The millage rate is expected to be five mills, which is standard for CIDs. The annual budget for the CID is expected to be $482,000. Those funds will be used to leverage federal and state grant money.
The CID tax is expected to be placed on tax bills this summer for property owners.
Other than the Stone Mountain CID, the only other CID in DeKalb is the Central CID, which, along with one in Fulton County, forms the Perimeter CID. The Perimeter CID has contributed $14.2 million in additional property taxes for transportation and infrastructure projects completed or under way in the I-285 perimeter area.
“We’re long overdue for another CID,” said Commissioner Kathie Gannon.
DeKalb’s Chief Communications Officer Burke Brennan said there are several other CIDs in the works, including Northlake, Tucker, Brookhaven and Wesley Chapel.