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Opinion: How Community Improvement Districts will make Forsyth County more attractive to businesses
Hwy. 20

Have you ever driven down Windward Parkway and asked yourself, “Why doesn’t McFarland Parkway or Hwy. 20 look this good?” 

The answer is that Fulton County has Community Improvement Districts (CIDs) and for now, Forsyth County does not. 

But thanks to our State Delegation passing HB 696, Forsyth County will soon be able to form them as well.

What is a CID? A CID is an area that commercial property owners organize to fund public works projects such as roadways, intersection improvements like mast arms or added turn lanes, upgraded signage, street lights and landscaping. The commercial property owners in a district elect the CID’s board of directors and tax themselves a millage rate on their property tax which is then used to fund these infrastructure projects. While the taxes are only paid by the commercial property owners, the entire area gets the benefit of these projects.

The business community in the McFarland corridor has been seeking a CID for the past five years. As they host their customers and associates from all over the world, they want to provide a good impression and show how wonderful it is to live and work in Forsyth County. The investment that they will be making will help entice more businesses to choose Forsyth as their home and improve our business to residential property tax ratio. These businesses will soon be requesting the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners to allow them to have a vote on forming the South Forsyth CID.

Our neighbors in North Fulton have had a CID since 2003. You can see many of the projects that they have completed on their website at including the Encore Parkway Bridge over Ga. 400 or the landscaping off of the exit ramps in Alpharetta.

With the passage of this legislation, we are hoping it will be a catalyst for businesses within other parts of our county to organize other CIDs. The future may one day provide CIDs on Peachtree Parkway, Market Place Boulevard, Ducktown, Matt Community, Hammonds Crossing, Hwy. 9 and Hwy. 20. Potential projects could be an exit at Ga. 400 and Buford Dam or burying power lines on Hwy.141.

It is great to see our state representatives creating this tool so that local businesses can compete on the same level with businesses in surrounding areas.  Many thanks to Rep. Todd Jones, Rep. Marc Morris, Rep. Sheri Gilligan, Rep. Wes Cantrell, Rep. Kevin Tanner, Sen. Greg Dolezal and Sen. Steve Gooch. Your efforts in this matter will result in noticeable improvements that will be seen and enjoyed by all county residents in the near future and beyond. 

Carter Patterson

Vice Chairman, Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce