Downtown Taxing District Runs Into Opposition On Council

Dec 4, 2013

A proposal for a new downtown taxing district hit a roadblock Tuesday as Urban County Council members showed little enthusiasm for the plan.

The Downtown Lexington Management District would have levied a small tax on downtown properties in order to fund beautification efforts and other services in the heart of the city. The proposal required 33 percent of the property owners representing more than half of the property value downtown to sign a petition favoring the increase. That goal was met, but right under the wire.

Councilman Ed Lane said it wasn’t enough to persuade him a new tax is needed.

"You're raising taxes on every business in the downtown area and I think that's just not a good thing. I like the downtown development folks...  but I would say if all these people are willing to pay extra taxes, why don't you just get them to make a larger contribution to your organization and then we don't have to raise the tax?" he asked.

The tax, which would have generated an estimated $270,000 annually, was ultimately taken off the docket Tuesday.

Louisville and more than 1,200 cities in the U.S. have instituted downtown management taxing districts to help fund additional trash pick up, signage, and other improvements.