Vote on Belhaven Community Improvement District could come in first quarter of 2022
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A leader with the Greater Belhaven Foundation says a vote to form the city’s first community improvement district could come in the first quarter of 2022.
The foundation submitted its petition to form the district in May. Since then, the City Clerk’s Office has been verifying names and addresses.
CIDs are special taxing districts, where property owners would pay an additional property tax to fund improvements within the district.
Belhaven’s CID would be the first in the capital city and would take in more than 1,700 properties running from Riverside Drive in the north to High Street in the south. East to west, the district would run from I-55 to North State Street.
To form a district, a nonprofit must collect signatures from 60 percent of property owners within the district’s boundaries and submit them to the city clerk for verification.
Belhaven submitted its list of 1,051 signatures in May.
GBF Executive Director Casey Creasey said she’s not surprised it’s taken so long to verify names.
“It’s a process,” she said. “Fortification took 10 years. The Museum Trail took 10 years. It takes time for things to get up and going.”
Since submitting the petition, the foundation has had to go back and collect an additional 50 signatures after properties changed hands.
‘That’s part of the verification process,” she said. “If it has changed hands, we have to approach the new owners.”
Once the signatures are verified, the foundation will submit a strategic plan to the city to show how funds raised from the CID assessment would be used. The council would then approve the plan and a special election would be set to form the district.
All registered voters within the proposed CID boundaries would be able to cast ballots, Creasey said.
Additionally, all ballots would be cast in person, at a voting precinct.
State law allows for up to six mills to be placed on homes and properties within a district. The tax would only be in place as long as it is needed to fund projects included in the strategic plan.
Belhaven is seeking the full six mills. Based on a copy of the foundation’s draft budget, the millage increase would generate approximately $207,000 a year, of which 55 percent would go to public safety and security, 20 percent would go toward master planning, 10 percent would go to capital improvements, and beautification, eight percent would go to CID management and seven percent would go toward annual audits.
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