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Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014

Cine project needs input from citizens

Sunday, June 5, 2011

On Monday, a delegation from the Malco Cinema company will come before the Sikeston City Council and ask them to form a Community Improvement District to help finance the expansion of the movie theater.

The Malco group has plans to expand the local theater to a six-screen complex. But the cost of the project -- around $2 million, we're told -- would be largely financed through the formation of this new tax district.

If approved, businesses in the district -- the former Midtown Village area -- would add a one-cent sales tax to their business purchases. Those funds, along with private financing from the district developers, would finance the expansion.

There is no argument that Sikeston could use a new theater complex to rival the massive complex in Cape Girardeau. It would clearly be an appealing addition and would likely attract movie goers from throughout this region.

But that's not the question.

The issue is the fairness of imposing this added sales tax on customers of the Midtown Village businesses.

The concept is that all of the businesses will benefit from improvements to the parking, lighting and entrances to the shopping district. And there is the hope that these improvements might also attract new businesses there.

The more customers, the more business for all involved.

But there is the argument that imposing this new tax would be unfair on those businesses who might see little or no benefits from the expansion. Granted, at the end of the day it will be customers who will ultimately pay for the expansion -- though a one-cent added sales tax is not a major expense to most customers.

The Malco group will likely tell the council that without this Community Improvement District, they will be unable to expand the theater. We'll have to take their word on that point.

Sure, we need a new and improved entertainment outlet like the one proposed by the Malco group.

Now it's up to the council to decide if the additional tax burden is appropriate to gain this new added business here.

What might be helpful is if the citizens of Sikeston would share their thoughts on the proposal and the method of financing.

And you can do that by commenting on our website -- Standard-Democrat.com -- or share your thoughts in Speakout. Heck, you can even write a Letter to the Editor.

So what do you think?