Business owners wary of proposed Municipal Service District

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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.

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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.