A mistake by representatives of the Business Loop 70 Community Improvement District means a sales tax increase the district needs to thrive will require approval by a single University of Missouri student. On Feb. 28, Jen Henderson, 23, became the sole registered voter living within the community improvement district, or CID, meaning she is the only person who would vote on a half-cent sales tax increase for the district. The Columbia City Council established the district on a 5-2 vote in April in response to a petition from a group of property owners in the CID boundaries. The “qualified voters” in a CID are capable of levying various taxes or assessments within the boundaries of the district to fund improvement projects. Under state law, decisions to impose sales taxes in a CID are to be made by registered voters living in the district boundaries. If no such registered voters are present, property owners vote. Many homes surrounding the university-owned property where Henderson resides were not included in the district when it was drawn because district organizers wanted a district free of residents.
… Gartner said Monday that, at the suggestion of Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren, the CID’s board of directors tried to keep the identity of the sole voter private because of “concerns with her privacy during this sensitive situation.” Noren said she told the CID about Henderson’s registration in May.
Henderson said she doesn’t want her involvement with the CID to be private. She said Gartner initially approached her in June to explain the goals of the CID and ask her to consider “unregistering her vote” so the property owners could make the decision. The more she researched the situation, Henderson said, things “just didn’t seem to be as good as they were saying to me at first.”
Gartner “tried to get me to unregister, and that’s pretty manipulative,” Henderson said. “The district plan and the district border is manipulative, too.”