Jacksonians debate Community Improvement Districts
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Some view it as a tax, others the answer to serious challenges facing the city of Jackson.
They are called Community Improvement Districts.
Jackson's business, community leaders and neighborhood associations stood behind passage of Community Improvement Districts as the answer to keep Jackson property values vibrant with neighborhood improvements.
Jackson business and community leader Leland Speed said Jackson is challenged.
"We need to use every technique and every source of funding we can get," said Speed. "If we can get people to adopt their own neighborhoods, fix their own potholes, what's to complain about?"
The CID allows Jacksonians to voluntarily assess themselves and businesses up to a six percent millage fee to improve and upgrade areas in their districts. Jackson Councilwoman Virgie Lindsay is a proponent of CID's for neighborhood improvement and upkeep.
"The sticking point, I think, is it is viewed by some as a tax, and I understand that," said Lindsay. "But if you are going to call it a tax, let's acknowledge that it is a self- imposed tax."
Speed blames the Lt. Governor for stonewalling a vote on Community Improvement Districts. It has failed the past four years.
The Lt. Governor's office responded in a statement saying:
The Lieutenant Governor personally knows people who are living on a fixed income and can't afford to pay six more mills because they already live in one of the highest-taxed jurisdictions in Mississippi. Some rich people may be fine paying more taxes, but they have the ability to voluntarily contribute to their homeowners' association right now.
Most conservative Republicans in the Senate oppose raising people's taxes and turning over tax dollars to un-elected representatives. He applauds those who contribute to homeowners' associations to make their community a better place.
Also, the bill did not die in committee last year. It died on the calendar because no one from the Jackson delegation would come to the podium to defend it.
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