We're now just a few days shy of closing down the first 12 months of Downtown Lee's Summit's Community Improvement District (CID). Downtown business owner and CID Board Chair, Jason Norbury has helped Link 2 Lee's Summit put together this primer on the special tax and how collected funds can and will be used for the betterment of the community.
Beginning April 1, 2015, CID began collecting a one percent sales tax from businesses in the CID area, which roughly covers the Central Business District in Downtown Lee’s Summit, from Jefferson Street to Johnson Street and 2nd to 4th Streets.
The CID operates as an independent political subdivision, though it was created by the City of Lee’s Summit, and then approved by the voting residents of the District.
Funds collected by the CID are to be used to provide services and improvements that “in general preserve, promote and enhance the District.” This means that any expenditure has to impact the District within its boundaries, and must provide a public benefit and not merely a benefit to private entities. The District is managed by a Board of seven individuals, who are business owners or property owners in the District.
The District primarily focuses the use of its funds in three main areas (outside of administrative expenses):
Clean and Green, which would include things like litter control, landscaping, and cleaning and beautifying the District; Community Development, including providing funds for marketing efforts and other economic development efforts that benefit the District; and Capital Improvements, which can span from small items like planters and bike racks to supporting public art installations and even larger, long term investments in capital structures.
So far, collections of the sales tax have exceeded expectations — $213,000 during the first 10 months — which indicates a healthy Downtown Lee’s Summit. This unanticipated revenue has enabled the Board to envision some “big ideas,” such as requesting a marketing plan for the district, partnering with the City to increase the day-to-day cleaning and maintenance of the Downtown streetscape, and providing financial support to the development of a permanent Farmer’s Market Pavilion in the District.
So far, the District has approved funds for more holiday lighting in Downtown Lee’s Summit, a public art project, and helped leverage additional holiday advertising to support Downtown businesses during that very important season. Applications for funds are discussed in public meeting once a quarter, and are viewable when posted to the CID web site.
Downtown Lee’s Summit is unique in our city, as it blends elements of public space with a commercial district. The CID will help ensure that this historic landmark continues to thrive into the future.