A public hearing was held Monday night for the public to hear more details and make comment on a proposal to impose a 1 percent retailers’ occupation tax and a 1 percent service occupation tax within the boundaries of the Metropolis Business District, which was established in November 2005. The area is bounded on the north by Eighth Street, on the east by Metropolis Street, on the south by the Ohio River and on the west by Vienna Street. The purpose of the proposed taxes is to eradicate blighting conditions, assure opportunities for development or redevelopment, encourage private investment and attract sound and stable business and commercial growth within the district.
There are 85 to 90 business districts throughout the state in communities of every size. That list includes Pickneyville, which raised $270,000 last fiscal year through its business district tax. Gene Norber, president of the consultant firm Economic Development Resources, explained that business district started with nothing but its development was spurred on by a business taking advantage of the program and making the investment. When that success was witness, others joined on. “It jump started and helped bolster the area around the square,” he said.
Norber, along with city attorney Rick Abell, fielded questions and input from some 35 business owners from around the city. Members of the Metropolis City Council — Mayor Billy McDaniel and aldermen David Daugherty, Charles Barfield, Jerry Mizell, Bob Midnight and David McManus — were also present to hear the public’s input.
The council’s Industrial Committee will meet at 12:30 p.m. today, May 21, with further discussion on the topic on the agenda.
Business owners who spoke out during the meeting noted that Metropolis is in a different situation than Pickneyville. “Geographically, where we live is a challenge. Pickneyville is in the middle,” business owner Sterling Bailey said. Back of the Closet owner Martha Borman referred to the city as “an extension of Paducah,” noting that not only does most of her customer base come from across the river but also her inventory.
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