The Madison County Commissioners approved the establishment of a Cherokee Pass Community Improvement District (CID) at their weekly County Commissioners meeting Monday.
During a public forum held in December, Attorney Nathan Bollinger, who is representing the project, briefly explained that the creation of the district is solely to create funds which can be used to fix the issue with the sewer system in Cherokee Pass.
“The CID for Cherokee Pass is not going to be the sewer district,” Bollinger said. “This is a funding mechanism. The CID has no authority to do anything except charge up to a 1 percent sales tax.”
The district has the authority to ask for the sales tax, but there will still have to be a ballot and a vote for the sales tax to be put into place.
“The whole purpose is to supplement the debt used to put in a sewage system,” Bollinger said.
“The DeGuire subdivision was given a violation notice that its lagoon was not meeting requirements,” Arthur Robbins said.
Robbins went on to say the immediate issue with the lagoon needed to be addressed and a grant was obtained in order to have engineering studies done to find the best solution.
“The best solution to the problem was a treatment system,” Robbins said.
In order to acquire the funding needed to install a system, several things needed to be done. The first was the creation of the CID to supplement the cost of the loan.
Bollinger said the CID will not be involved in the engineering of the project or any of the decisions involving its implementation. The purpose is to show the community's financial support of the project.
At the December forum, several members of the community filled the courtroom to voice their concerns and ask questions. Most of of those were about future phases of the project and the sewage system itself.
“The plans are preliminary," Tim Robbs with Taylor Engineering explained. "We haven’t gotten that far yet.”
“The water district is going to act as the sewer district,” Robbins said. “The only impact the CID will have is if you have a business within the CID you will have to charge a higher sales tax. The boundaries of the CID and the boundaries of the water district may not be the same.”
Several concerns about eminent domain were addressed in the public forum by Bollinger as he explained the CID will not have eminent domain authority.
“They’ve got the ground over there where they want it to go,” Robbins added.
Joann Stevens was present at the December meeting to show her support of the project saying, “I am very much for it because my house has no resale value at all. The banks won’t even finance it because it has no sewer system.”
The petition was signed by more than 50 percent of the owners per capita and by total amount of the assessed value of the total properties.
“We are for things that are going to improve the living conditions of people in Madison County. That is what we are here for, and I am for this project, because it will do that,” Presiding Commissioner Bob Mooney said. "I think this will be a real benefit to both the businesses and the residents of Cherokee Pass."
The district contains approximately 314 acres and is generally located in the Cherokee Pass area.
After extensive discussions and revisions of the initial petition to limit the power of the board, Mooney and Commissioner Larry Kemp approved the CID. Commissioner Tom Stephens recused himself from the decision due to owning property within the district.
The initial board of directors are appointed and will consist of Arthur Robbins, Donnie Mays, Darren Ellis, Marcia Spala and Joe Wengler.
A copy of the petition is available for review at the office of the Madison County Clerk during regular business hours.