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County, Businesses Agree to Create Stone Mountain Improvement District

The area of industrial parks between Stone Mountain and Tucker will get better security, road repairs, curb appeal -- and maybe millions of new dollars -- under an extra tax approved by the area business owners and just OK'd by the county.

The area of industrial parks between Stone Mountain and Tucker will get better security, road repairs, curb appeal, and maybe millions of new dollars, under an extra tax approved by area business owners and just OK'd by the county.

Some 88 property owners along Mountain Industrial Boulevard have agreed to tax themselves a little extra, developer Emory Morsberger told the DeKalb County Commission, urging them to vote to formally endorse the plan and create the Stone Mountain Community Improvement District. Metro Atlanta already has several so-called CIDs, where area business owners vote themselves an extra tax and decide what to do with the money. 

When the seven-member Stone Mountain CID board begins work about mid-June, they will finalize the millage rate they'll charge themselves. It's tentatively set at $5 per every $1,000 of property value. Then they start to work on a project list. That board has final say over the project list and it could go beyond Morsberger's examples of security, landscape and roads. 

"Anything the board of this group desires to improve their value and the value for the county," he said. 

By his estimate, a 5 mil tax would yield about $480,000 annually; they plan to start collecting this fall. 

CIDs can also pursue federal grants and other monies to fund more upgrades. Indeed, north DeKalb's Perimeter CID calculates that it has leveraged $14.2 million of its own money to collect $86 million more in matching city, state and local funds.

"We're long overdue for another CID, so this is very exciting," said Commissioner Kathie Gannon, ahead of the Apr. 26 unanimous commission vote for it. 

The county commission must now name two members to the CID board. The other five are elected by CID members. Once the board is formed, it will return to the commission to negotiate the services it will still source from DeKalb and which it won't. 

The CID is roughly an inverted T shape, running along Mountain Industrial Boulevard from East Ponce de Leon Avenue in the south to the railroad crossing just north of Hugh Howell Road.

Morsberger is CEO of the Morsberger Group, which, according to its own company literature, was instrumental in forming two Gwinnett CIDs: the Evermore CID and the Southwest Gwinnett Village Community CID. Earlier this year, Morsberger resigned the chairmanship of the feuding Evermore CID, which covers part of the highway between Stone Mountain and Snellville. That CID suffers from high turnover and a divided board that's spent tens of thousands on litigation.

FullDisclosure April 28, 2011 at 02:29 PM
Having been involved with the Buckhead CID through the formation of an overlay district, I think it is a fantastic idea. Mountain Industrial corridor serves as a high traffic area and if the types of improvements are made that have been made in Buckhead and Perimeter area, property values and interest from business relocating should pick up. I would encourage all property owners along Ponce and/or Hugh Howell to consider annexing into the CID. The short term cost is well worth the long term gain Alex B.

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