by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
Asheville PARC, a group with whom I seldom agree, has recently spammed a call to action with which I generally agree. I hope they don’t mind if I excerpt a huge chunk with which I fully agree:
At their Tuesday meeting, City Council will hear from the downtown business owners who want to create a new tax district.
The plan would provide an unelected board with a direct infusion of tax money.
Plan proponents at first said they wanted more downtown events to attract residents and tourists. When downtown residents objected that they didn’t really need more beer festivals, the plan changed to clean-up and crime prevention featuring “ambassadors.”
Now a spokesman says it is not certain if the ambassador program will be established.
When they began, BID proponents talked about a 5¢ tax rate, increasing over time to 15¢. Then they said they wanted 7¢. Now they’re back to 5¢ again but still have not explained how they would use the money.
Opposition to the plan is widespread. A PARC PAC poll showed that voters oppose the BID by 57% to 19%. The fire chiefs oppose it because the BID would drain money from their departments. Most downtown residents oppose it. (They would pay the tax but the benefits go to downtown businesses) Many oppose it because they don’t want another group of business owners spending their tax money like the Convention & Visitors Bureau does.