It's all but official—the proposed Neighborhood Improvement District has been rejected by downtown Easton property owners.
Of the 488 affected properties, 198 had officially registered disapproval of the plan with the city clerk's office as of Thursday afternoon, City Clerk Thomas Hess said.
By law, the plan is to be jettisoned if 40 percent of affected property owners, or in this case 195 of them, protest the move in writing. The deadline for such 'nay' votes is Dec. 12 and the city clerk's office will continue to accept and count objections until then, Hess said.
The city had unveiled the NID at a , which revealed downtown residents and property owners were divided on the proposal. One property owner even led an on-line campaign to get people to write in agains the district.
If approved, the NID would have assessed Downtown property owners within the district with a fee -- 1 mill for residential property owners, 5 mills for commercial properties -- to help fund the Easton Main Street and Ambassadors programs.
While most people seemed to support the work done by Main Street and the Ambassadors, they couldn't agree on how to fund them. Some property owners said they didn't benefit from either program. Supporters argued the NID was necessary to help continue improvements downtown.
Mayor Sal Panto has previously said that if the NID proposal were to fail, the city will still , possibly by raising parking meter rates.
That decision, however, is not likely to be made until after the city completes its parking study, sometime in the spring of 2012. In the meantime, the Main Street and Ambassadors programs , Panto has also said.