A CID is a quasi governmental entity formed by commercial property owners with the authorization of the local government or municipality. CIDs often are operated by non-profit partnership organizations, and overseen by a board of directors.

CIDs are geographically defined districts in which commercial property owners vote to impose self-taxes or assessments. They vote to choose the additional services they want to invest in. Once a measure is enacted, all members of the CID are obliged to contribute. Like a property tax, the assessment is levied on the commercial property owners who can pass it on to their tenants.

Private Property Rights In Action

A Community Improvement District is a fascinating approach that gives private property owners the ability to control change and make improvements in the area surrounding their property, beyond individual property lines. This is a joint effort with other owners in public-private partnership. Only commercial property owners may form a CID, and these owners hold full control over the activities of the CID. Owners become members by signing an Agreement to form a Community Improvement District. These members select their own board, set their self-taxing millage rate, and decide what projects will be funded.

The actions of the CID are multiplied through the influential capacity of a CID to leverage funds for projects to obtain local, state and federal dollars to be spent on improvements within the CID. The worst performing CID in Georgia has an average Return on Investment of 10 to 1. An ROI of 25 to 1 and higher is not uncommon due to the leverage potential of a well-run CID.

Proven Investment for ROI

CIDs are one of the most powerful public-private tools that can revitalize business districts and re-energize entire communities. Taking a geographically defined district in which commercial property owners vote to impose additional ad valorem real estate taxes, these stakeholders take the future into their hands by determining how the additional funds will be spent to benefit their immediate area. Today, CID funds enhance existing city/county services such as public safety, redevelopment opportunities and traffic solutions. In addition to leveraging their funds with federal and local government monies, CIDs allow community leaders and the actual property owners to chart a course they determine for an area’s economic growth and lasting vitality.

The ability of a CID to focus on projects specific to its area enables commercial property owners to address issues of direct importance to them. Of course, a CID could not fund large-scale projects on its own. The role of the CID is to use its money locally to attract state and federal funds. The CID funds the planning studies, develops the design, and completes all the background work. When federal or state funds become available, the CID stands at the front of the line, ready to go.

Without a CID, a project could take much longer, if it is ever even considered by government decision makers. By identifying issues of concern-mobility, streetscapes, personal safety, cleanliness, the CID allows for concerted advocacy in which projects can be placed on a fast track for completion. Acting as a unified corporate voice to champion a project for state and federal support and by working in concert with public-sector planning experts, the CID projects move forward with far greater success.