Lee's Summit improvement tax delivers double

Posted at 6:37 PM, Sep 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-30 19:37:09-04

Funds from a new CID tax for downtown Lee's Summit has local leaders overjoyed. The question now: How to spend the money.

The one percent Community Improvement District tax went into effect in April. So far, accumulated funds have been nearly twice as what was projected, totaling more than $80,000 through July.

Some residents wonder where all the money will go.

While the five-year district management plan provides an array of options on what is permissible, the CID board--all downtown business owners--have approved the following first expenditures:

  • $4,500 for marketing and advertising
  • $2,500 public art project
  • $1,500 (per month) admin. services
  • $7,800 in holiday lights and decor

While the plan does not specifically list an allocation for holiday lighting and decor, business owner and CID board member Amy Robertson said it all falls under a "marketing umbrella," that will help bring more revenue to the area.

"As a business owner, that is something I really wanted to see with the CID, just driving  more traffic downtown," said Robertson.

The home furnishing store owner says she's waited for this CID for years.

"Just for that little shot in the arm, so we can be competitive with the big box stores," she said.

Fellow business owner and board member Brad Culbertson agrees.

"Everybody enjoys Christmas lights, he said. "It's the one time of year merchants and restaurants are going to see a boost in business."

Culbertson said he would like to see more sidewalk cleaning and that once funds grow more improvements could be made, including a farmers market pavilion and silent railroad crossings.

The CID plan allows money toward:

  • a "clean and green" initiative (litter control, street/sidewalk cleaning, landscaping, etc.)
  • marketing and economic development
  • capital improvements (recycling, bike racks, signs, banners, facilities, etc.)
  • administrative services.

According to Culbertson, the CID has a 20-year sunset period. It was the result of multi-year push following a 2002 bond issue for street improvements. That initiative spurred business owners to figure out how to pay for the maintenance and operating costs of street scape improvements.