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Group sues to stop downtown taxing district from collecting revenue for not curbing crime

The Downtown Community Improvement District (CID) collects about $3.5 million a year in extra property taxes on businesses and residents in downtown St. Louis

ST. LOUIS — Downtown St. Louis could lose millions of dollars for upkeep and extra police patrols at a time when the city is dealing with street racing, shootings and other crimes.

The Downtown Community Improvement District (CID) collects about $3.5 million a year in extra property taxes on businesses and residents in downtown.

Much of that money is meant to keep downtown safe with services like extra police patrols.

But a group of downtown residents is suing to stop the Downtown CID from collecting taxes next year because they are not happy with the job the organization is doing.

"Part of the problem with the CID is that the people on their board, primarily business people, are not here 24/7 like residents are," said Les Sterman, downtown resident of 16 years. "They don't hear the gunshots at night. They don't see the fights that are erupting out in the street or the activity surrounding some of these legal and illegal clubs."

Sterman is part of a group calling itself "Citizens for a Greater Downtown St. Louis" which is also proposing a similar, but alternative organization that would put a greater focus on reviewing liquor licenses of problem properties.

Meanwhile, the Downtown CID is running out of time to collect enough signatures to renew its authority to collect taxes by the end of the year.

5 On Your Side reached out to the leadership of the Downtown CID but have not heard back.

They did tell our partners at the Business Journal that the signature collection and renewal process is "moving forward."