278 businesses in­vited to form as­so­ci­a­tion

The Covington News - - LOCAL - ROB DEWIG rdewig@cov­news.com

The new High­way 278 Im­prove­ment As­so­ci­a­tion Inc. will hold its first meet­ing at 6 p.m. Wed­nes­day, July 16, in the Physi­cian Pavil­ion Au­di­to­rium, 5126 Hospi­tal Drive.

The non-profit group is ded­i­cated to bring­ing to­gether businesses along U.S. 278 for plan­ning and im­prove­ment pur­poses; a dis­cus­sion about it was a ma­jor por­tion of the July 7 city coun­cil meet­ing.

Larry Kaiser, the con­sul­tant hired to guide the for­ma­tion of the as­so­ci­a­tion and its as­so­ci­ated “commu- nity im­prove­ment district,” said all property own­ers in the area have been in­vited by mail, but wanted to get the word out in case some for­got or didn’t get their mail.

The district in­cludes parcels along 278 from In­ter­state 20’s Exit 90 to the State Road 142 By­pass.

The meet­ing will in­clude voting for as­so­ci­a­tion board mem­ber and adop­tion of by­laws.

To form a CID, 50 per­cent, plus one, of busi­ness own­ers in an area must agree to join, and those own­ers must con­trol 75 per­cent of the as­sessed property value. Cov­ing­ton Mayor Ron­nie John- ston said the as­so­ci­a­tion is close to that num­ber now.

The for­ma­tion of a CID will al­low businesses in the area, with the per­mis­sion of both the city and the state leg­is­la­ture, to re­quest an in­crease in their mill­age rates to con­cen­trate that ex­tra tax rev­enue on im­prove­ments or plans spe­cific to the district.

City Man­ager Leigh Anne Knight said CID rep­re­sen­ta­tives have men­tioned a 3 per­cent to 5 per­cent in­crease in taxes.

Kaiser said that fig­ure is spec­u­la­tive, “just dis­cus­sion items only.”

It will be well into 2015 be­fore any self-im­posed taxes be­come re­al­ity.

CIDs have proven suc­cess­ful in the At­lanta metro area, Kaiser said. Their ex­is­tence has al­lowed businesses to unite to pro­mote and im­prove their ar­eas.

Knight said CIDs can also ap­ply for state and federal grants un­avail­able to cities and towns.

John­ston said all banks along the cor­ri­dor have ex­pressed in­ter­est in the CID, as have businesses in the Kroger com­plex.

John­ston asked the coun­cil to con­sider giv­ing the CID $25,000 as “seed money” to get the process started. No ac­tion was taken on that re­quest.

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