Gateway Marietta CID eyeing expansion

Marietta Daily Journal, Jon Gargis

August 24, 2018

MARIETTA — Gateway Marietta Community Improvement District board members Friday tapped Michael Leithead to advise the organization as it works toward expanding its boundaries in the coming months.

Leithead, the son of Cumberland CID Executive Director Tad Leithead, has worked the past four years as property analyst of the North Fulton CID, which had formed in 2003, according to its website.

“Expansion is sort of my expertise. I’ve never involved myself in a creation, but for the last four years, I’ve worked for the North Fulton CID, doing expansion alone, and that’s where all my expertise lies, and I’m familiar with the process and also now familiar with the boundaries in the conversations I’ve had,” Michael Leithead said in his presentation to board members. 

While board members gave the go-ahead to work with Leithead in the coming months, a contract between the two parties is still being negotiated, with Leithead’s pay expected to include a flat monthly fee and a percentage of the first year’s revenue generated by the expansion, said Caroline Whaley, the CID’s executive director.

CIDs are self-taxing districts established by commercial property owners to improve local infrastructure and public safety. The property owners that make up a CID’s membership agree to tax themselves and leverage that revenue to obtain state and federal funds for projects that improve the area.

Gateway Marietta CID’s primary boundaries start at Delk Road and Franklin Gateway, running north all the way up Franklin Gateway to South Marietta Parkway, with 68 members or commercial parcels within the boundaries.

Expansion efforts, Whaley said, would primarily focus on extending the CID’s stretch from South Marietta Parkway up to Roswell Road.

A graduate of Auburn University with a degree in political science, Leithead during his college years served as an intern with the Atlanta Regional Commission as well as the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, according to his bio on the North Fulton CID’s website.

He said his first 30 days of consulting work for Gateway Marietta would entail learning the boundaries of the CID.

“That means driving the area, seeing what buildings are where, who owns what ... and also the establishment of what I call ‘carrot projects,’ because it’s important to know what projects will give incentive to property owners to join the CID, because the question always comes out, ‘What’s in it for me?’”

Successive months, Leithead said, would see him building the database of properties within the potential expansion zone to be presented to the CID, followed by meeting with those properties’ owners or managers with the goal of moving forward with expansion in March, which is when new properties must be submitted to the Cobb County Tax Commissioner’s office in time for them to be included on the CID’s tax rolls that year.

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Caroline Whaley