The column below was previously published in the February, 2016 Ferguson Times. At that time, the City was struggling with how to balance the budget for the City’s General Fund. Since then, two tax increases have been passed in order to shore up the General Fund. The downtown business district continues to operate as noted below without using funds from the General Fund.
Budgets, budgets, and more budgets! There’s been lots of talk about budgets in the City during the last few months. One good thing that has come out of these conversations is that more and more residents have become knowledgeable about where the City gets its money and what the City spends it on.
Maybe you’ve wondered where the downtown business district (also referred to as “CityWalk”, or “FSBD”, or just “S. Florissant”) gets its money from and what it spends it on.
What the downtown business district spends its money on is easier to answer because the results of that spending are very visible. Downtown events such as the Farmers Market, the Concert Series at 501, Streetfest, Northern Lights, and the Christmas Glow Carriage Rides are all funded, some completely and some partly, by the downtown business district. Most of the advertising for these events, so people far and wide know about them, is also paid for by the downtown business district. In addition, the downtown lighting, trashcans, benches, and public landscaping and art are all paid for by the downtown business district.
So where does the downtown business district get its money from? There are two funding sources: a special tax that downtown businesses pay when they renew their business licenses; and the proceeds from the downtown TIF district. (Explaining how a TIF district works is beyond the scope of this column, but google “TIF” if you want to learn more.)
There you have it. Money flows into two funds that the City has setup for the downtown business district, and that money is spent on the things you see and the events you enjoy along the downtown corridor.