During Tuesday’s meeting, the Metro Nashville City Council approved a resolution increasing the sales tax for downtown businesses. The .25 percent tax increase will go into effect July 1. According to the Metro Nashville Finance Department, the estimated revenue from this increase amounts to at least $2.4 million.
Per the state law, certain businesses are exempted from the sales tax increase: professional services, transient lodging, tickets for sporting or other live events, alcoholic beverages, newspapers or other publications, and overnight or long-term parking.
As The Tennessee Star reported earlier this week, the increase applies to the Downtown Central Business Improvement District (CBID) for purposes of increasing public safety, cleanliness, promotional materials, and major convention and group meeting recruitment.
The Nashville Downtown Partnership, a private nonprofit that oversees the downtown area, offered further detail in a press release that predated the council decision on the sales tax increase. They explained that the funds would increase police, fire, and emergency services; expand the number of Downtown Ambassadors, who keep the streets clean and patrol for situations requiring first responders; and implement more street cleaning and beautification programs.
The Nashville Downtown Partnership President and CEO Tom Turner said many businesses and merchants support this resolution.
“This is essentially the equivalent of 2 cents on each $8 burger, or other similar item, sold downtown,” explained Turner. “We’re identifying and responding to our changing needs, and creatively sourcing how best to make the investment that we all need in downtown.”
Oversight of the CBID falls to the Nashville District Management Corporation Board. They will appoint five individuals to an advisory committee to determine how the accrued funds will be spent. Committee members will include those with retail components to their business, specifically: two hotels, a Second Avenue business, a Broadway business, and an attraction business.
Resolution sponsor Freddie O’Connell didn’t respond to The Star with comment by press time. We asked the sponsor what had prompted the need for increased funding for public safety and cleanliness, and why .25 percent was determined to be the best amount.
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