Columbia business owners anticipate Business Loop 70 upgrades

3 years 2 months 2 weeks ago Saturday, February 28 2015 Feb 28, 2015 Saturday, February 28, 2015 10:36:00 AM CST February 28, 2015 in News
By: James Packard, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - A group of professionals along Business Loop 70 are hoping a new sales tax increase will raise the funds they need to improve the area.

A group of business leaders in the area submitted a petition in December that is scheduled to be discussed at Monday's city council meeting.

The petition asks the city to create a Community Improvement District (CID) along Business Loop.

Jack Miller, President of True Media, said Saturday he expects the CID to be approved in April.

The goal of the potential improvements is to provide environmental enhancements to the area "such as burying power lines, improving landscaping/lighting etc.," Miller said in an email.

Miller also said the CID would create "a comprehensive development plan to increase the overall business economy on the loop and attract new infrastructure and companies."

The area of improvement includes 74 different property owners, of which 50 percent have to sign the petition, in order for city council to create the CID. Owners of more than 50 percent of the total value of the area also have to be in favor of the petition. Both criteria have been satisfied.

Business owners have proposed a half-cent sales tax increase if the CID is created, which Miller said would raise $250,000 to $300,000 a year. He said it would be up to the city CID board to determine actual funding sources and time lines, as well as planned improvements. 

Miller said the rise in sales tax for the area would not put businesses at a disadvantage, and make the sales tax more similar to surrounding business districts.

The petition proposes a potential board of directors for the improvement district, a detailed description of desired improvements and a budget through 2019 for improvements.

The city has scheduled discussion of the improvements for its council meeting on March 2. It anticipates to hold a public hearing on the improvements on April 6. After the hearing, the city council will consider an ordinance to approve the upgrades and establish the CID.

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