James Gordon

Voters living within the Business Loop Community Improvement District approved a half-cent sales tax Thursday night. 

The margin of victory was one vote, with four ballots cast in approval and three against.

It took four election judges about twenty minutes to count and verify all seven ballots. While they tallied returns behind the drawn blinds of the Business Loop Community Improvement District office, local press and other interested parties waited in the holiday-muzak-permeated lobby of Parkade Center.

The Columbia Business Loop 70 Community Improvement District is proceeding with Thursday’s half-cent sales tax election despite a request to postpone.

CID Board President Tom May received a letter Wednesday morning from attorneys for Jen Henderson, an eligible voter and outspoken critic of both the sales tax proposal and the CID organizers.

Wednesday afternoon, Associate Circuit Judge Kimberly Shaw set bond at $10,000 cash for Hunter Michael Park, who is accused of posting racist threats to the social media service YikYak. The conditions of Park's release include GPS-monitored home detention at his parents's home, no access to the internet and psychological treatment.

Park's attorney, Jeff Hilbrenner, said his client was an unlikely flight risk given his strong support from family and friends. When prompted by Hilbrenner, over 50 people in the courtroom stood up in support of Park.

  Associate Circuit Judge Kimberly Shaw denied a request for reduction in bond during the arraignment of defendant Hunter Michael Park, a 19-year-old sophomore charged with a felony count of making terrorist threats.

Park appeared before the court via closed circuit television feed from the Boone County Jail. His father, mother and two brothers were in the courtroom.

University of Missouri police officers arrested Hunter Park at 2 AM Wednesday morning at his dorm room at Missouri University of Science and Technology campus in Rolla.

Bram Sable-Smith/KBIA

Monday, after the resignation of University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe and the announcement that MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin would be stepping down at the end of the year, a video appeared that shows an altercation between members of the press and a group of activists gathered on Carnahan Quadrangle – near the Concerned Student 1950 campsite.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Map of Community Improvement Districts and Registered Voters

Full screen map view

 

When property owners in commercial neighborhoods want to clean up their block, they sometimes turn to creating special tax districts.  These districts use tax hikes to pay for aesthetic and safety improvements. But what happens when you cut out the public from having a voice on those taxes?

That public exclusion has created a mess in Columbia’s Business Loop District and locals are irked about the process.

vote here sign
KBIA file photo

A majority of the 14 registered voters living in Columbia’s Business Loop Community Improvement District, or CID, have been casting ballots over the past few years.

If the CID board were to pursue a half-cent sales tax increase, these 14 voters could cast the deciding votes. Without voters in the district, property owners could push through the tax hike. After one voter was discovered, the board postponed the election. A recent KBIA investigation revealed an additional 13 voters in the district bringing the total to 14.

Image and Interactive Map by James Gordon; CID boundary from City of Columbia, Voter data from Boone County Clerk

Thirteen additional voters have turned up in the controversial Business Loop Community Improvement District, or CID, after an investigation by the KBIA newsroom.

The board of the Business Loop CID has been criticized for gerrymandering to exclude all voters. In doing so, property owners in the CID would legally be able to levy a sales tax increase of a half-cent without voter approval.