Wilmington City Council held a public hearing on a proposed Municipal Service District at its meeting Tuesday.
This was the first reading of the proposal, and members are set to make a final decision during a required second reading at the next council meeting.
More than a dozen downtown business owners and residents spoke during the hearing.
The crowd was split between those in favor and against the MSD for the Central Business District.
If approved, the MSD would establish a new property tax of seven cents per $100 in property value.
The funds would go toward safety ambassadors, marketing and beautification of the area.
MSDs exist in more than 50 North Carolina cities, but the debate to bring one to Wilmington has lasted almost a year.
The next council meeting is Nov. 1.
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Valley Head police confirm a mother and her young daughter were killed in separate vehicle wrecks Tuesday afternoon.