Fulton residents accuse tax commissioner of stalling progress - CBS46 News

South Fulton residents accuse tax commissioner of stalling progress

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It's one of the most popular shopping areas in south Fulton County, but Neel Shah believes it could be even more shopper and neighborhood friendly if the county would let a coalition of business and homeowners spruce it up.

Shah, who owns two hotels not far from Camp Creek Parkway, said the best way to improve the area is to establish the Airport West Community Improvement District.

"Fantastic idea," Shah said. "Beautification is the hallmark of what hotels are built upon. Curb appeal is everything."

A community improvement district is a partnership of businesses and the public.

Supporters believe that improving the area around the shopping center will bring economic development to the surrounding neighborhoods and help the area thrive.

"People need jobs down here," said David Cole, a homeowner who supports the CID.

Cole is part of a coalition of homeowners and business owners in southwest Fulton County who complain that the top tax collector is standing the way of progress.

They accuse Tax Commissioner, Arthur Ferdinand, of stonewalling efforts to revitalize the Camp Creek Parkway shopping area.

A spokeswoman for the would-be CID said the group submitted its proposal to Ferdinand last June, but he did not approve it, forcing the group to miss the December deadline that would have allowed the group to collect more than $5 million in federal and state funds.

Ferdinand did not respond to CBS Atlanta's request for an interview.

Supporters of the CID showed CBS Atlanta an email they said was from Ferdinand.

The commissioner criticized the plans, saying it appeared exclusionary.

"The latest boundary shows no clear rationale for the selection or exclusion of properties, and may create questions of fairness in both taxation and delivery of CID services. If there is a perception of inequity, it could directly impact our ability to collect not only CID revenue, but school and county taxes in this area as well," the email states.

The coalition still hopes Ferdinand will eventually approve the plan.

"We will work with him. We'll do whatever it takes to get that CID here," Cole said.

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