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Lanier CID moving closer to reality
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The Lanier Islands Parkway Community Improvement District has turned in the needed paperwork to create a self-taxing district in South Hall County, its director said Monday.

“We’re excited about it,” said Mack Burgess, the CID’s director. “Everybody’s worked really hard and I think it’s going to be really, really good for the community.”

The effort involved “a lot of door-to-door (visits), phone calls, meetings — we’ve been pounding the pavement, trying to build support for this thing for the better part of eight months,” Burgess said.

An organization set up to create the district was able to collect 87 signatures on properties with a total value of $138.2 million, said Kate Davis, a CID spokeswoman.

To create the district, organizers had to get the agreement of 50 percent, plus one, of the commercial and industrial property owners in the proposed district.

Plus, those property owners must make up at least 75 percent of the district’s total property value.

The district will run roughly between the Lake Lanier Islands resort to the west and Hog Mountain Road to the east.

Properties are mainly off Ga. 347/Lanier Islands Parkway, which runs between the resort and Interstate 985.

Hog Mountain Road is east of I-985, intersecting with what is now known as Friendship Road. Friendship Road will become Lanier Islands Parkway in January 2015, or when construction is complete on Ga. 347 along that corridor.

Paperwork was turned in to the Hall County Tax Commissioner’s Office for its verification of names and properties.

“We’re hoping to have the certification by the end of this week or next,” Burgess said.

Tax Commissioner Darla Eden couldn’t be reached for comment.

After approval by Eden’s office, the district must go through officials in Hall County, Flowery Branch and Buford for their OK.

“It all has got to be done (in) July, because that’s when the county has to turn its final (tax) rates in to the state.”

Once the CID is certified and “everyone checks off on it,” we’re going to elect the board, sometime in early June, Burgess said.

“The first (thing) that the board does is set the (tax) rate,” he said.

The plan remains to set the tax rate at 5 mills, which would be levied only on commercial and industrial property owners in the district.

In Hall County, 1 mill is equal to $1 for each $1,000 in assessed property values, with property assessed at 40 percent.

Burgess has said the goal “is to get a CID that generates enough revenue to be eligible for the big grants.”

He said Monday, “Our goal will be to provide a whole new vitality to the corridor, hopefully making some great and much-needed improvements.”

Among the Lanier CID’s plans are “major enhancements” to the Exit 8 bridge over I-985, landscaping and adding “significant decorative lighting and street signage along the parkway,” according to its website.

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