At the Nov. 14 Hays City Commission meeting, the Commission voted 3-2 in favor of the Hays Mall Community Improvement District that will impose a 1 percent sales tax increase at the Mall to fund improvements.
The CID, which has been discussed and changed over the course of the last several weeks was approved with changes after the Commission exited a 20 minute executive session.
The additional provisions that were added and approved as part of the CID established 2 phases of improvements to completed by certain dates . Phase I improvements are to be completed by July 1, 2016 and Phase 2 improvements are to be completed by December 31, 2016. If the owner of the mall fails to complete the designated improvements by the deadlines, none of the $3 million will be distributed.
Vice Mayor Eber Phelps and Commissioners Ron Mellick and Shaun Musil voted in favor of the ordinance
“Initially I was not in favor of the CID because I’m not a fan of a business not using any of its own money to make improvements,” Musil said, “I’m changing my vote because I’m looking at the future of Hays.”
“Improving the mall could increase Hays’ pull factor, and potentially bring more visitors to shop in Hays,” Phelps said.
Mayor Henry Schwaller and Commissioner Kent Steward voting against the CID.
“This is a $3 million investment without any guarantee of results, not my idea of good business,” Steward said.
“I can’t commit Hays residents and area residents to paying for this without something in exchange, because it isn’t a fair exchange I will not be voting for it,” Schwaller said, who also changed his original position on the CID prior to the vote.
In addition to the CID, the Commission recognized city employees for 5, 10, and 15 years of service. A 5 percent guest tax was also approved, a 1 percent increase from the original guest tax. Funding was also approved for rehabilitation of the crosswind runway at the Hays Regional Airport. The rehabilitation will cost $95,349.