community improvement district

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Map of Community Improvement Districts and Registered Voters

Full screen map view


When property owners in commercial neighborhoods want to clean up their block, they sometimes turn to creating special tax districts.  These districts use tax hikes to pay for aesthetic and safety improvements. But what happens when you cut out the public from having a voice on those taxes?

That public exclusion has created a mess in Columbia’s Business Loop District and locals are irked about the process.

vote here sign
KBIA file photo

A majority of the 14 registered voters living in Columbia’s Business Loop Community Improvement District, or CID, have been casting ballots over the past few years.

If the CID board were to pursue a half-cent sales tax increase, these 14 voters could cast the deciding votes. Without voters in the district, property owners could push through the tax hike. After one voter was discovered, the board postponed the election. A recent KBIA investigation revealed an additional 13 voters in the district bringing the total to 14.

Image and Interactive Map by James Gordon; CID boundary from City of Columbia, Voter data from Boone County Clerk

Thirteen additional voters have turned up in the controversial Business Loop Community Improvement District, or CID, after an investigation by the KBIA newsroom.

The board of the Business Loop CID has been criticized for gerrymandering to exclude all voters. In doing so, property owners in the CID would legally be able to levy a sales tax increase of a half-cent without voter approval.

The woman who would have been the only voter on a proposed sales tax increase for a downtown Columbia business district says she would have voted against the measure. 

Sarah Kellogg / KBIA

After learning that a single resident has the ability to vote on a half-cent sales tax, the Columbia Business Loop’s Community Improvement District Board decided to postpone the election.

Columbia considers adding public restrooms downtown

Nov 27, 2012
Dougtone / FLICKR

Columbia’s Downtown Community Improvement District is considering adding public restrooms downtown.

There are no public restrooms downtown. Richard King is the owner of the Blue Note and Mojo’s and also a board member of the Downtown Community Improvement District. He said the addition of public restrooms might deter people from urinating on street corners or in parking garages.

“There were issues if you talk to some of the downtown folks, police officers; they made it clear that there were issues like that," King said.