Subcommittee to help find funding solution for downtown

POSTED: 09:41 PM CST Feb 25, 2014 
COLUMBIA, Mo. -

While Columbia city leaders decide how they're going to repair a failing and overworked downtown infrastructure, another group is offering ideas.

The Downtown Columbia Leadership Council created a subcommittee Tuesday to find possible solutions for funding.

This comes a week after city council voted down a TIF district that would have raised $70 million to fix the issues.

Chair of the Downtown Leadership Council Brent Gardner said the TIF isn't necessarily off the table, but the subcommittee will be looking at several options.

Deputy city manager Tony St. Romaine told ABC 17 News what some of those options are.

"You could put together a ballot issue that would raise the necessary funds to be voted on so we could have some rate increases," St. Romaine said. "There are things like increasing developer fees or adding impact fees ther would be charged against developers."

The subcommittee said they will be including developers, city council, and the public in the decision to cover all options.

St. Romaine said the city needs a bare minimum of $20 million to cover the cost of the necessary infrastructure repairs and growth.  And he said this decision is a top priority.

"We have a thriving community, and a great downtown area and we don't want to stop the ball from rolling so it's an issue we have to fix," he said. "We want it to be a place people want to invest their capital and keep improving."

The subcommittee meets for the first time next week and will present their ideas to city council next month.