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WILMINGTON NC (WWAY) — Downtown business and property owners were fired up after a plan to raise property taxes in downtown was shared.

Almost two years ago the Wilmington City Council asked Wilmington Downtown Inc. to look into a possible property tax increase for downtown property owners. A task force was put together, and Wednesday night the task force shared their plan publicly.

A task force made up of downtown stakeholders like property owners and business owners spent the last year and half looking at establishing an MSD, or Municipal Service District.

Clark Hipp, task force member and downtown property owner, said a MSD would help pay for unarmed public safety ambassadors, economic development programs and maintenance.

“Things will degrade in downtown if we don’t pay attention to our overall environment. I believe downtown requires extra services, and this an opportunity for us to decide what those extra services are,” said Hipp.

The task force came up with imposing a seven cent tax for every $100. They used the example of the Husk on Front Street and Dock, to explain how much an MSD would cost. For that building which valued at about $660,000, the MSD tax would be about $460 each year.

The properties that would be affected would be those already in the Central Business District, which is the core of downtown.

Alan Murphy said the MSD is unnecessary.

“My biggest problem with the fact that it is not needed,” said Murphy.

Murphy, who owns Coastal Kicks on Front Street, said owners should be doing the services themselves.

“I’m involved with every single aspect of my store and I feel that’s why we are still open, if a business owner wants somebody else to do everything else, get a job and get out of my way,” said Murphy.

Murphy said he is also concerned the MSD is being forced on them and others felt that way as well.

Hipp said they have been transparent and open during this process.

He said the services are needed so downtown can continue to compete for business.

“The city is growing around us and we have many retail centers that are coming up in the city,” said Hipp.

While those who would be affected by the tax had a chance to speak their peace, the ultimate decision is left to the Wilmington City Council. The task force is expected meet one more time before they take the plan to council in February.

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2 Comments on "Tempers flare over proposed downtown property tax"

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Gruntlip McGerkan
23 days 59 minutes ago

….and not one of these businesses, ever for one second, saw this coming?
Yes…it’s one huge amazing joke that residents turn their heads to City Council and their underground plans to scrape up your money every chance they get.
I really believe that the citizens of Wilmington just really *hope these issues just go away*…but at the same time, have someone else take care of it for them. But Wait!!…. “It’s what they pay *them* for” isn’t it???
Pay whom?? The ones getting paid are the ones sitting in City Hall…and will continue to sit there as long as this sort of… Read more »

Member
23 days 6 hours ago

I don’t know that I’ve ever known anyone to be exhilarated about tax increases, but the city peeps have been sitting on their duffs for far too long. They’ve allowed the same mayor and city council members with the same careless spending practices to remain in office multiple terms, Only 13% got out of their easy chair to vote during the past 2 elections. There is nothing worse than this sort of apathy for the control of tax monies by municipalities.
Now you want to get up and get angry, yell about it and point fingers? You lost your opportunities several… Read more »

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