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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Monday night the City of Wilmington hosted a public input meeting to get feedback on a proposed Municipal Service District or MSD for Downtown. This is a proposed property tax increase.

Wilmington Downtown Inc. is proposing the tax revenue will be used for ambassadors for additional safety and security, cleaning, enhanced economic development, amenities for enhanced beautification, and marketing and branding.

Paul Cowan of Down Island Traders on South Front Street said attending public input meetings about a potential Municipal Service District hasn’t changed his views on it.

“I haven’t changed my mind,” said Cowan. “It makes me stronger in my resolve.”

Cowan said he won’t really benefit from the services from the tax increase.

“I think the proposal is sort of a subsidy for night time businesses,” said Cowan.

He said the proposed 40 percent of the revenue going to safety and security is a concern.

“Most of the problems for security are night time problem,” said Cowan.

Cowan said it’s the restaurants and bars downtown that have the most to gain not retail shops, like his, that are open just during the day.

Ed Wolverton, president of the Wilmington Downtown Inc., said they looked for a compromise when drawing up this proposal that should satisfy all business and property owners.

“Craft what we thought would be a reasonable rate but will still have some impacts that would benefit people that would be paying for it,” said Wolverton.

The proposed tax is .07 cents per $100 property value, so if your building is worth $100,000, you’d pay $70 a year.

The group that is tasked with presenting the proposal to city council has until April 1. After that the Wilmington City Council will choose to approve the proposal, make changes or deny it.

Comment on this Story

  • Justin LaNasa
  • Vog46

    ILM is the tale of two down towns. During the day you have bookstores, art shops and other stores open and you can walk around feeling safe. Those shops don’t necessarily need extra security.
    Then there’s the night time which is an area of bars drunks and apparently public urination and vomiting.
    It is time for our City leaders to realize that this is indeed the case. Once they realize this the need for ambassadors for down town goes away. I think they should cap then reduce the number of liquor licenses they have issued for down town. I’m not against drinking but I darned sure won’t get drunk then attempt to drive home………

    • Christopher Meyers

      The “city leaders” have had this “realization” for quite some time now, they just aren’t doing anything about it. Drunks, pukers and unrinators aren’t the ONLY problem by any means, there are also violent robberies, drug deals, car break-ins and the sidewalk holdups of innocent citizens just making their way home after dark. I’ve never heard anyone say, “Hey…let’s go for a walk down Castle St., It’s only 11 pm!”.

      • Vog46

        Chris –
        Your point is well taken but Castle st is not included in this. Here’s the MAP:
        http://www.wilmingtondowntown.com/_files/docs/2015-msd-info-brochure-update-final.pdf

        The ONLY people who want to be down town at 11pm are the people deliberately getting drunk (or worse). Most folks who LIVE there don’t wander around outside of their own property.
        The city only wants to see the day time down town………..but they want the revenue from both daytime and night time down town…..

  • Eric Bohlen

    Absolutely not. Until they get the issue with loitering and crime, not only at night, adding security is after the fact.

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