Tonight, the Urban County Council should vote to create a Downtown Management District.
Management districts, which exist throughout the country, tax property within the district (in this case at the rate of 10 cents per $100 of assessed value) and use the money to improve the area.
A board of property owners would make the final decisions, but often the money is used for sidewalk cleaning, snow removal, increased trash pickup, beautification, wayfinding signage and similar projects.
The area proposed includes the central business district and is generally bounded by Midland Avenue, High Street, parts of Second Street and Newtown Pike.
Research and anecdotal testimony before the council on the Lexington proposal indicate that property owners are almost always happy with management districts, that they improve the streetscape and often are associated with lower crime.
In this effort — a district was proposed in 2013 but didn't pass — 51 percent of property owners in the proposed area who account for 62.5 percent of the taxable property, have signed a petition for the district.
This seems like a no-brainer.
Most opposition seems to fall into two categories: the added cost of the tax and an insistence that these are things the city should do anyway.
To address the second first: The city would not reduce or in any way change the services it provides within the district.
These are added services, like power-washing sidewalks or trash pickup on days the city doesn't collect.
As for the tax issue, council members should keep in mind that over half of those who will be taxed are for the levy because they see it as an investment.
Further, the legislation includes a sunset clause that will terminate the district in five years, unless the council reauthorizes it.
If the district can't quantify the benefits it has provided then property owners can, and should, lobby the council to let it die.
But today the council should give this effort to create an important public/private partnership to enhance downtown a chance to live.