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Sales tax increase for Downtown Nashville to fund cleanup and safety

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Posted at 8:38 PM, Jun 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-04 00:00:08-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — In less than a month a burger, a shirt, boots could all cost you more downtown. On July 1, the sales tax for certain purchases downtown will increase. It's part of an effort to clean up the area and make it safer.

Shoppers would see an increase of a quarter of a percent on the sales tax for some goods and services within the boundaries of the Downtown Central Business Improvement District (CBID).

This means prices on items such as restaurant food, clothing, and souvenirs would go from 9.50% to 9.75%

The funds would create a business development fund. Council member Freddie O'Connell says it's a dedicated funding stream to cover the cost of making the area look better.

Funds will cover the cost of creating more safety strategies and more trash pick-up days.

The legislation says these funds must be deposited into the event and marketing fund to assist in the recruitment of major conventions and group meetings, the improvement of promotion, and to provide additional focused security in the downtown CBID.

"It’s sort of focus on safety and cleanliness and including under that safety element a big social services component, the Nashville Downtown Partnership is involved and organizing it. They’re going to add some outreach capacity, they already have some street outreach," said O'Connell.

The Metro Council approved the measure Tuesday night.

"They’re estimating early this will generate about $2.4 million in the first year and a lot of that is going to go to things like dedicated Thursday, Friday and Saturday night trash collection," O'Connell said.

Those who shop Downtown say they don't believe it will stop people from visiting and spending money.

"I think people are still going to what to come down here and enjoy themselves, we both work in the service industry ourselves so I think people still want to do that," said Matthew Davey, visiting from Virginia.

The state law provides that the following goods and services are exempt from the fee:

  • Professional services
  • Lodging provided to transients
  • Tickets to sporting events or other live ticketed events
  • Alcoholic beverages which are subject to the liquor by the drink tax in addition to sales tax
  • Newspapers and other publications
  • Overnight and long-term parking