COLUMBIA — Downtown organizations looking to form a community improvement district are asking residents and business owners to apply to become members of an advisory board on the matter.
The move is a step toward officially forming the community improvement district, which — unlike the current Special Business District or the Central Columbia Association — could charge an extra half-cent sales tax within the district to pay for marketing, events and promotions.
To form a community improvement district, a majority of property owners — as figured per capita and weighted by the amount of property they own — in the proposed district must sign a petition supporting it. Then it's subject to City Council approval. Registered voters who live within the district would decide whether to approve a sales tax.
Carrie Gartner, executive director of the Special Business District, said the organization wanted to choose advisory board members before circulating the petition so the property owners could see who would represent them.
A nominating committee will present a slate of candidates to the Columbia City Council for approval.
Applicants must be property owners, business operators or registered voters living within the proposed district, and they must be at least 18. Board members would serve three-year terms, though initial terms would be staggered.
The District also is recruiting applicants for an economic development committee, a marketing committee and an operations committee, which would address maintenance and security issues.
Applications were mailed to property owners, business owners and residents of the proposed district. They are due by 5 p.m. on Sept. 15 to The District office, 11 S. Tenth St.