‘Illegal and scandalous’: citizens’ group sues to block downtown district tax | Local company

ByShannon J. Cortes

Oct 20, 2021

The downtown St. Louis, Mo. skyline is seen on Tuesday, October 12, 2021. Photo by Robert Cohen, [email protected]

Robert cohen

ST. LOUIS – The battle for control of millions of dollars meant to keep downtown clean and safe is heading to the courts.

Prominent opponents of the Downtown Community Improvement District filed a lawsuit Tuesday night to prevent the district from imposing its annual tax and prevent the city from enforcing it.

The district’s current 10-year term expires on December 31, and despite more than a year of testing, it has yet to secure an extension from the owners. The lawsuit says that because the district imposes annual taxes before each new year, the district cannot collect without an extension until 2022.

“This Court should not allow the implementation of this illegal and outrageous plan,” said the lawsuit, filed by downtown condo owners Les Sterman and Matt O’Leary, who want to form a new neighborhood.

The neighborhood made headlines Wednesday afternoon, filing petitions signed by the owners, which will be considered by the city. They could save the neighborhood. But opponents immediately vowed they would challenge the petitions as well.

The district collects over $ 3 million a year from downtown landowners and is supposed to use that money to keep St. Louis vibrant downtown. Guided by a board of directors made up of city hall representatives, as well as downtown heavyweights like the Cardinals, Stifel Financial and Speyer, he pays for private security, employs street sweepers, and plants trees and trees. flowers.