Community Improvement Districts in Metropolitan Atlanta
Political Science and International Affairs
Community improvement districts (CIDs) in Georgia are business improvement districts (BIDs) with a difference: They are constitutionally established autonomous local governments, though entirely run by the districts' leading property/business owners, mostly real estate and banking interests. Like BIDs they assess themselves but, as governments, they are also able to leverage large sums of state and federal monies for substantial infrastructure construction and improvements. In metropolitan Atlanta, CIDs arose first in response to an excess of success in suburban commercial nodes that required large-scale capital investments and transportation improvements. In the business-friendly political climate of Georgia they are strongly supported by the officials of the counties and city within which they are located, though there are some differences between CID and local government relations from county to county and especially the city. The autonomous legal status of CIDs and their ability to leverage public money create problems for their accountability to local governments and general publics. As they expand their activities more in the direction of general-purpose governments, and as more CIDs are established, their accountability problems and their implications for democratic governance will come more into focus.
International Journal of Public Administration
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