The Court of Appeals in Kansas City will hear oral arguments next month as several Kansas City, Mo., business owners try to keep alive their lawsuit challenging the legality of the funding mechanism for the city's proposed $102 million downtown streetcar line.

The arguments are scheduled for July 16, according to attorney Mark Bredemeier who represents the businesses. The city had sought for the case to be transferred directly to the state Supreme Court but that application was denied.

The initial complaint was filed by KCAF Investors LLC in Jackson County Circuit Court against the Kansas City Downtown Streetcar Transportation Development District in January. It sought a declaratory judgment voiding a special parking and property tax assessment and a 1% sales tax.

The circuit court in March granted the district's request for a dismissal after concluding that the deadline for filing a challenge had passed. The business owners appealed to the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District.

The appeal asks the court to reverse the dismissal and remand the case back to the circuit court "so that we can obtain a decision on the merits of this lawsuit, which we believe will determine that these funding mechanisms which places the burden on a relatively small number of property owners, most of whom were not allowed to vote, is illegal," Bredemeier said.

The taxes would be collected within the boundaries of the special district that houses 4,000 parcels. The streetcar line relies on as much as $73 million in bond financing repaid with revenues from those sources. Registered voters in the district approved the measures in December through a mail-in ballot. A vote earlier in 2012 established the special downtown taxing district.

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