The Economic Sales Tax Board is comprised of three appointees by the Paris Board of Aldermen, one by the Monroe County Commission and one by the Paris School Board.

Four downtown Paris businesses are beginning to make use of the city’s economic development sales tax dollars.

Monroe County Abstract & Title is housed in a building that dates back to 1865, and is one of the types of projects that were envisioned when voters approved an economic development sales tax during the April 2016 Municipal Election.

Owner Lisa Minor said that her building is in serious need of structural integrity improvements. She has hired a contractor to perform a tuck-pointing project on the north side of the building to “keep the wall from falling down.”

Tuck-pointing is the process of replacing mortar between bricks that has deteriorated through years of being exposed to weather, which eventually leads the mortar to turning to dust, causing it to collapse.

The city economic sales tax will pay for $4,000 of the $20,000 cost, which will not be paid until the project is completed.

“I was going to do it anyway,” Minor said, “but it is a good option for business owners, particularly those who might not make as much money.”

At one time, the building was home to what is now TPNB Bank, along with several other businesses.

Down the street from Minor, Daniel Miller has been rehabbing a building at 101 S. Main that has housed everything from a service station to an ice cream shop, insurance agency and even a beauty shop.

Miller has spent about $60,000 to do a complete makeover of the building to house his new company, Missouri Real Estate.

He used the city economic development tax dollars to pay $4,000 of a $22,000 project to repave the parking lot, provide new signage and complete interior work with the goal to “have the building structurally sound to hopefully last many more years to come.”

Miller said that economic development tax money has helped him complete his project ahead of schedule.

“There is no doubt that the $4,000 has helped me tremendously,” Miller said.

Miller and Minor are two of four projects approved by the Paris Board of Aldermen in December based on the recommendation of the city’s Economic Development Sales Tax Board. The other two projects approved for this year was for improvement by J.A.C.S. Ramos LLC at 305 North Main St. and 211 North Main St.

The Economic Sales Tax Board is comprised of three appointees by the Paris Board of Aldermen, one by the Monroe County Commission and one by the Paris School Board — Chuck Herron, Raymond Batsell, Courtney Jones, Dane Kendrick and Jody Hartgrove.

For the first year of using the tax money, the city primarily targeted the downtown area for development. To qualify, the businesses submitted an application to the Sales Tax board, which presented a recommendation to aldermen. The application was for landowners and businesses in Paris, with a preference for those in the downtown area.

Minor applauds the city’s efforts to help improve downtown buildings.

“I drive through Shelbina and see all the buildings that have been torn down, either because of the fire or that the buildings were not maintained by their owners, and I would hate for that to happen in Paris,” she said.