The CID concept was first introduced to St. Louis County in the St. Louis County Strategic Plan 2000-2004. The plan focused on the need to reinvest in older communities. It explained that as the county aged, it was vitally important to preserve and stabilize its older neighborhoods.
Other key concerns outlined in the plan were maintenance of aging housing and commercial structures to prevent deterioration, revitalizing commercial and industrial areas which no longer met contemporary standards, producing redevelopment plans for declining or blighted areas and maintaining streets, sidewalks and waterlines.
The plan notes that, in the late ‘50s and early '60s, many Americans, including St. Louisans, moved from the city to what are now considered “inner-ring” suburbs, including cities such as Florissant.
“This exodus was followed by additional migration as the population gained affluence and newer housing met modern consumer preferences,” stated the plan. “But inner-ring suburbs that flourished in the late 1960s and 1970s now are experiencing their urban neighbors’ population losses and economic decline as migrations continue and new housing products continue to improve.”
This so-called “second urban crisis” was affecting St. Louis County as it faced similar “urban aging pressures” such as older populations, harder to maintain homes and business structures, obsolete commercial centers and other issues, the plan stated.
“Community disinvestment and neighborhood decline are now not only problems associated with a big city,” the plan read. “In fact, community deterioration, especially in suburbs that were once blue-collar and middle-class, has the ability to accelerate and intensify.”
The CID legislation was approved by the Missouri Legislature in 1998. A CID was defined as a special benefit that allows groups of property owners to assess and tax themselves for community improvement and services within their district.
How CIDs are created
A district board manages a CID. Depending on the petition, the board may be appointed by the St. Louis County Executive with consent of the County Council, or it may be elected by voters in the district. Community improvement districts become independent political subdivisions.
To establish a CID, a valid petition must be submitted to the appropriate governing body. A valid petition must specify the size, area and duration of the district, as well as the maximum rate of taxes which can be imposed and the method and maximum rate of assessment.
The petition must also be signed by more than 50 percent of property owners (by assessed value) within the boundaries of the proposed district. A public hearing is held to approve or deny the CID.
The petition must also outline several other factors, such as maximum rates for real property taxes that can be submitted to voters for approval. Before taxes can be levied, an election must be held through a mail-in ballot, and a majority vote is required.
The tax levy can’t exceed the rate stated on the petition without a vote from property owners, and taxes are collected and redistributed in the same way as real property taxes.
CID quick facts
- A CID is a geographically defined district in which commercial property owners choose (by a vote) to impose a self-tax.
- CIDs are considered a powerful public-private partnership. They have been used successfully throughout the country to revitalize cities.
- CIDs can directly enhance property values by allowing property owners to decide how funds are spent in their area.
- CID funds can add to existing services, such as public safety, and they can be used to leverage additional public and private funds.
- CIDs can make improvements to a variety of areas in a community, including water, public transportation, street and road construction and maintenance, parks and recreational areas and facilities, storm water and sewage, parking areas and more.