On Aug. 17, the Sarasota City Commission rejected a request to allow merchants to serve on the St. Armands Business Improvement District board.
Since its inception in 2001, the board has comprised of only Circle property owners, because a state statute read that members had to be “subject to property taxes.”
During the formation of the BID, Assistant City Attorney Michael Connolly interpreted that to mean only property owners could serve on the board.
But in late July, Jack Peffley, owner of Taffy’s menswear, and Scott MacDonald, owner of Crab and Fin, asked Connolly to reconsider that interpretation, because many merchants are responsible for paying property taxes through their leases.
Connolly said that the statute could also be reasonably interpreted to mean that merchants are “subject to property taxes.” Connolly asked the commission to make a policy decision on the matter.
In a 4-1 vote, the commission decided the statute should mean property owners only. Vice Mayor Kelly Kirschner was the dissenting vote.
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