It was November 2005 when the Metropolis City Council passed an ordinance establishing the Metropolis Business District.
Almost 8 1/2 years later, the council is looking to set the taxing portion of that district into place. A requirement of that is a public hearing.
That hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Monday at the Girl Scout House, located across from Fort Massac State Park on Seventh Street. Its purpose is for the pubic to hear more details and make comments.
The Metropolis Business District Redevelopment Project 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 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,
“Currently, there are no sales taxes in the business district to help owners with renovations,” city attorney Rick Abell explained during the council’s April 23 Industrial Committee meeting.
The proposal to impose a 1 percent retailers’ occupation tax and a 1 percent service occupation tax within the boundaries of the district. The taxes are on products only and would go into effect Jan. 1, 2015. The generated funds stay within the district to pay for a long list of eligible project costs — from public or private improvements to marketing and advertising.
“A prime example of how we can help fund private projects is that Harrah’s has asked for public participation in financing a project. The city has indicated a willingness to provide $250,000 up front and would recapture that money over a period of years from the business district taxes paid by Harrah’s,” Abell said. “The Harrah’s project is expected to create business district revenue greater than that which is needed to repay the city or which would be shared with Harrah’s. There will be excess funds to be used in other parts of the district. This is an example of how the business district taxes can be used for private improvements or benefits as opposed to public improvements, such as sidewalks, streetscapes, lighting, etc.”
If passed, a Business District Committee will be established to oversee the administration of the fund. The committee will oversee the administration of the fund, making recommendations for spending requests to the city council, which would have final approval.
A copy of the Metropolis Business District plan is available for public inspection on the city’s website, www.cityofmetropolis.com, and at the City Clerk’s Office, the Metropolis Public Library and the Metropolis Chamber of Commerce.