SOUTH FORSYTH — Citing the success of a similar effort in a neighboring jurisdiction, Terry Kline was one of five business owners Wednesday who voted in favor of creating a Community Improvement District in south Forsyth.
“It’s going to improve the community — better landscaping, better development,” said Kline, a CPA with Paramount Business Advisors. “It’s going to help improve the attractions in the area for other businesses that would like to move in. I feel it’s going to be a good growth engine for south Forsyth.
“Look at what the north Fulton CID has done along [Ga.] 400. Those four exits, and how nicely landscaped they are, how well they’re maintained. That’s done by the CID. That’s not done by the county.”
Though voting on the issue will continue until October, the event arranged Wednesday by the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce was a chance for supporters to make an initial statement.
“These are the very first votes to be cast for the CID,” said James McCoy, president and CEO of the chamber. “… We wanted to celebrate that a little bit, so we held a separate meeting today at the chamber.”
The proposed district, which would generate a specialized tax from businesses within it, has been in the works for some time.
Forsyth’s delegation approved the required state legislation for the measure in February after representatives of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce had been approached by many business owners in the area. The county commission gave its OK last month.
Next up, 75 percent of the property value within the area plus $1 and a simple majority of owners of taxable properties will need to vote in favor.
If that happens, McCoy said early targets for the district likely would include transportation infrastructure projects, including a new interchange at McGinnis Ferry Road and Ga. 400.
“There are also improvements with McFarland Road, both median improvements and interchange improvements, that have been identified as important projects,” he said. “The widening of McGinnis Ferry Road has also been identified.”
Tim Chason, a former vice president of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce who’s assisting the local chamber with the effort, said the goal is to have voting concluded by the end of October.
“And once we’ve reached that, it will go back to the [local] tax commissioner,” he said. “The tax commissioner will then verify that we have the right votes, in both equity and number of votes, and he will certify that for the [county commission].”
McCoy said that the chamber had reached out to more than 100 of the affected business owners.
“The support has been enormous,” he said. “We’ve had very limited … numbers of people who have expressed concern. And the concern has not really been about the CID, but just what priority projects ought to be.”