Charleston City leaders discuss King Street business improvement plans

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – King Street business owners gave their feedback to Charleston City Council on a plan that the city says would improve the King Street experience. Some businesses say the plan would cost them money for things the city should be handling.

“Why isn’t livability doing their job and why are you asking me to pay more taxes?” says Harris Cohen, Owner of King Street Cookies.

Charleston city leaders heard objections and comments from King Street business owners about the Business Improvement District (BID) plans. Mayor John Tecklenburg says this would add beautification and safety amenities that would enhance the area.

“It will keep it cleaner, safer and help all kinds of daily challenges that present themselves in a real busy business district,” says Mayor Tecklenburg.

The BID plans are set to cost nearly $11 million over 10-years and create a special fee assessed to property owners in addition to their normal taxes. Some business owners say they disapprove of that happening.

“I really don’t like increasing our taxes. I would rather take a percentage of our existing taxes to give to this agency to see if they do a good job for a year, or two or three whatever it is,” says one owner.

Sue Prenner and her husband have run their business on King Street for more than 40 years. Prenner wants city council members to look at using city budget money for the improvements.

“We don’t believe that non-governmental agencies should do functions that are allocated through taxpayer funds, to the city,” says Prenner.

Mayor Tecklenburg says to keep up with the growing central business district adding these measures will make it a more enjoyable area for people who work or visit the Holy City.

“We want to provide extra service to business that occurs here in order to make King Street an essential business district, as great as it can be,” he says.

City council will go over the business objections at next Tuesday’s city council meeting.

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