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CID proposed for new Streets of Caledonia development

A key Streets of Caledonia-related bill was given a continued Public Hearing before ultimately receiving its first reading at the Jan. 23 O’Fallon City Council Meeting. If the typical process is followed, a second reading and vote for passage would be conducted at the Feb. 13 council meeting. Bill No. 7169 would establish the Streets of Caledonia Community Improvement District [CID] as a political subdivision with a Board of Directors.

The District would provide certain public improvements within the boundaries of the Streets of Caledonia, such as street and roadway improvements, construction of a parking lot, grading, drainage and detention, curbs, sidewalks, sanitary water systems, and other similar related improvements.

The District would be restricted to establishing a sales tax only at a maximum rate of one cent or $1 per $100 of retail sales. The tax would apply only to new retail/commercial activity resulting from and supported by the public infrastructure investment and not include any existing retail operations, nor would it include any additional properties without the consent of the other property owners.

O’Fallon’s Economic Development staff has recommended approval of this CID. During the past 12 months, some Citizen Comments and Public Comments have voiced opposition to CIDs in general, citing State Auditor Nicole Galloway’s 2018 CID Audit negative findings.

Galloway’s report, “…found that lax oversight of taxpayer-funded projects has allowed for spending decisions to be made by those that benefit the most. Taxpayers will be burdened with increased taxes to pay for an estimated $2.2 billion in costs for more than 400 CIDs across the state. The majority of CIDs are funded by increased sales taxes.”

Her report further stated, “Taxpayers are on the hook for billions in project costs they did not approve and have little to no say in, Meanwhile, there is no law to ensure developers are accountable for the public dollars they receive and there are few requirements of the municipalities that approve these districts. State laws must be reformed to ensure taxpayers get the protection they deserve.”

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