What we found out: The proposed tax will put in place a $20 fee on every parcel of property in the City of Laurens that has a residential or commercial structure on it. This fee will be included in the city tax notices and must be paid with the city taxes. Property owners cannot opt out of this portion of their tax notice.
City Council unanimously passed first reading of an ordinance on July 21 to eliminate the assessment for the property located in the Business Improvement District that currently funds Main Street Laurens. This district would remain in place but would not be taxed separately for Main Street Laurens.
City Council then unanimously passed first reading of an ordinance that would establish a fee to fund Main Street Laurens USA programs, recognizing that the old assessment has been eliminated and a new income stream must be created to fund the Main Street Ordinance.
It is estimated that around $65,000 would be collected should the new ordinance be implemented. With the older ordinance as it is, Main Street Laurens should be collecting $33,000 after all the assessments are totaled. The true figure is closer to $25,000 collected from the Business Improvement District.
If current property owners in the Business Improvement District do not pay their assessment, billed separately by the city for Main Street Laurens, a lien is placed on the property by the City of Laurens.
The 2015 budget for Main Street Laurens is $143,000, according to City Administrator Gary Coleman. That figure is based on the anticipated collections of $33,000 from the Business Improvement District.
City Council will hold their second and final reading at their next meeting on Tuesday, August 18. A majority vote will be needed to pass the ordinance.