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Suit seeks to halt extension of downtown taxing district

In a lawsuit filed last month, several downtown property owners alleged that a petition submitted by the district seeking its extension was flawed.
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St. Louis downtown city skyline at twilight in USA

ST. LOUIS — Opponents of a downtown taxing district have filed more litigation, this time seeking to halt the group's 20-year extension.

In a lawsuit filed in St. Louis Circuit Court last month against the district and city, several downtown property owners alleged that a petition submitted by the district seeking its extension was flawed.

The Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District, which works to provide beautification and secondary security and levies an extra property tax that has exceeded $3 million a year, had been scheduled to expire Dec. 31. The city accepted the CID's renewal petition, which requires the signature of property owners, and re-upped it for another 20 years.

But in their new lawsuit, the property owners allege that the city did no verification of compliance with requirements of the state's CID law, and that the CID undercounted the number of eligible property owners in the district, reducing the number needed to achieve a majority. The CID also inflated the number of legally compliant signatures, they allege.

Other claims in the lawsuit include:

  • That the CID misled property owners who signed the petition, including by falsely saying its services would be limited to economic development, marketing and events.
  • That CID indicated property owners' assessment rates would be reduced by 23% for 2021 and 2022, though that wasn't true.
  • The renewal petition doesn't contain a required description of services.

A city spokesman declined to comment. The CID, in a statement, said it doesn't believe the litigation has merit, and said that "despite the efforts of the districts' opponents, the required majority of the owners in the district signed the amendment petition to extend the term of the district and authorized the district to continue to provide the programs and services described in that amendment petition."

Click here for the full story from the St. Louis Business Journal.

    

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