Possible tax hike for businesses downtown

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Submitted: Wed, 03/27/2013 - 2:40am
Updated: Wed, 03/27/2013 - 1:17pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Plans to raise taxes in Wilmington’s downtown business district to support downtown events and promotions have resurfaced. In 2010, Wilmington Downtown Incorporated planned to pitch the idea to City Council until some stakeholders rejected the idea.

Councilman Charlie Rivenbark hopes City Council will look deeper into the proposal and return with new options, including the idea of a tax increase for downtown businesses.

Officials cannot agree on the cost of supporting more than a dozen events that draw half a million people downtown. As events expand or move downtown, the city has to spend more to support them as workers help with cleanup or other services.

City leaders are now looking at tax hikes for businesses which could mean higher prices for downtown goods and services.

“If they’re going to tax businesses for cleanup on the streets they can get that money from other places besides taxing the businesses down here. I mean it really does sound stupid to do,” said Chris Record, a Village Market employee.

The proposal could gain traction if city leaders eye it as a possible source of revenue to help support downtown events.

Councilman Charlie Rivenbark says the proposal would offset costs of the events and send them to the people who benefit from them the most. “It really depends on where the money is coming from and where the money is going, and if it is worth it, because the money has got to come from somewhere. If it has to come from the businesses but we benefit from it, then it’s all around a good thing,” said Joseph Hauserc, a Shuckin’ Shack employee.

Rivenbark also said the central business district could fund the “Bring It! Downtown” campaign, a marketing effort designed to lure residents and visitors alike to the downtown area.

One business owner says she is not ready to commit to anything until she sees numbers and what makes sense.

“Until we know all those numbers and what other issues they’re trying to address are. I think it’s premature to say weather it would be a good thing or a bad thing,” said Joan Loch, owner of Crescent Moon.

Mayor Bill Saffo told the StarNews that City Council will talk about it, but he’s not sure if it will go any further than that.

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10 Comments on "Possible tax hike for businesses downtown"

Citizen of the Republic
2015 years 8 months ago

Let’s hear it for Wilmington Downtown……………………….

Tax, tax, tax, fee, fee, fee. Special this, Special that.


Wait, where did everyone go? Mayfair? What’s so special about Mayfair?

Oh, no alleys full of repugnant smells. No sticky shoes.

Bring it Downtown? No thanks.

Joe T.
2015 years 8 months ago

I aleady try to get downtown before 0900AM to get a coffee so instead of feeding change into a parking meter I can put it in the barista’s tip can. This past year I spent time in Mobile Alabama where they raised the sales tax to 10%; is this where Wilmington is heading. Somewhere deep down, I suspect the parking garage fund deficit is in the shadows waiting to siphon off money.

2015 years 8 months ago

What downtown needs is freedom from archaic codes not taxes.

2015 years 8 months ago

A special district created so that all hotels pay their ROT to support the convention center.

A proposal to have a special district to pay for increased police presence as bars close.

Now a special district to pay for down town events (and the support).

Does anyone else wonder if down town is dying because of these so called special districts? Are you wondering why businesses don’t go down town?

Mayfaire is not a special district is it?


2015 years 8 months ago

….and the city did too. You see, they repaved 3rd street, put in new curbing, sidwalks, lights and landscaping so that you no longer need a 4 wheel drive with extra ground clearance to negotiate it.

They totally forgot to do any work to the N. 3rd St. bridge! New paving on both sides, but the bridge itself is still riddled with cracks, tar patches and chuckholes to shudder your teeth. An absolutely unbelievable 3rd class job! At the least they should’ve milled it down and put a fresh layer of asphalt on it.

Just another reason they need more tax money. To finsh the final 3% of another bumbled project. Par for the course with the city “planners” though…

2015 years 8 months ago

Go ahead and make it even harder for business to be downtown, and in a few years, you’ll be wondering why there is nothing left downtown.

All governments want to do is tax tax tax, but when all of the jobs, business and industires are gone, they can’t figure out why they have no tax revenue.

If I had a business downtown and they wanted to tax me even more, I’d pack my stuff up and move outside of the city limits, and then pay only county taxes, the heck with the city. Things like this is why i REFUSE to live inside the city/town limits of any city/town ever again.

Guest CommonTater
2015 years 8 months ago

Tax it Downtown!!!


2015 years 8 months ago

Got shellacked with the proposed tax increase to fund the ball park
Now we get this from him:

“Mayor Bill Saffo told the StarNews that City Council will talk about it, but he’s not sure if it will go any further than that.”

C’mon Mr Mayor –
You’ve got “the hair”
Now grow “a pair”

Are you for or against this increased taxation?
I mean really – increased taxes to pay for clean up after parades down town? What could be more fitting than that eh? Hey you could add a half cent to it to pay bail money for anyone who “breaks through” the parade and gets arrested in order to escape down town while the parade is ongoing!!!!


Guest Reply
2015 years 8 months ago

I was dragged downtown last Saturday by the wife…daughter and son-in-law to check on something “Over Priced” because it was sold from a downtown business so they could afford their rent.
After dumping $1 into the New Age Pay to Park Device (slot #141)…I heard a tour guide passing by with a tour group…telling folks in his group that some guy named Miller had compared downtown Wilmington to downtown Denver,Co., whatever that was all about. I’ve been to downtown Denver several times in my life…and didn’t once see any comparison on that day. If it was the buildings the guide was talking about…as I told my wife (whom is familiar with the “real Denver” too)…as I said…”Except for the 30 to 40 story buildings and the view of the Rockies to the West…I still don’t see any Comparison!
I didn’t smell any Pee though :-)

2015 years 8 months ago

Do y’all really think that the right thing to do is to tax the whole of the city to benefit on specific area? If the promotions and events are designed to boost business downtown, then the businesses downtown should be the ones to foot the bill, not someone across town who doesn’t get anything out of it. And please, don’t compare this to other services that we all benefit from like police and fire departments or school. We all benefit from those services in one way or the other. Only downtown businesses benefit from those special events.