No high resolution image exists...
Midtown Business Association Executive Director Elizabeth Studebaker said she is hopeful that the organization will be able to renew its status as a property and business improvement district in July.
That status comes at an annual cost to local property and business owners – totalling $633,000 for the district – that is similar to an added property tax. In return, the MBA provides numerous services, such as graffiti removal, trash cleanup, private security patrols and marketing.
If the assessment renewal is not passed, those services will not be funded, and the MBA will revert to being a much smaller organization able to do minimal marketing and advocate for the district at City Council meetings.
Property owners and business operators will be voting on whether to continue paying the fees in the next few months.
“We have gotten a lot of support,” Studebaker said. “There’s a lot of positive energy in Midtown right now, and everybody is kind of looking forward to the ballots going out and getting the renewal finalized so we can start planning for 2013.”
The organization announced on Saturday that the first step in the process is complete – gathering signatures in support of the fees.
“This is really impressive” Michael Heller, an MBA board member and owner of the MARRS building on 20th and K streets, said in a press release. “I have been part of several (property and business improvement districts) in Sacramento, and this is by far the quickest I have seen signed petitions come in! I believe this is a clear indication of how property owners are supportive of the current efforts in place.”
Studebaker agreed with Heller’s perspective, saying that she is optimistic if the balloting process goes as smoothly.
The fee paid by property owners ranges between about 6 cents per square foot to about 14 cents per square foot per year, and it varies based on a number of factors, including whether the property is a business, residence, house of worship or nonprofit organization.
Studebaker said there are no expectations of raising the rates, and 2013’s rates will be the same as 2012’s rates if the assessment is agreed to by property owners. There is a provision for a 3 percent raise per year, but she said she doesn’t foresee that being enacted.
Board Vice President Beth Hassett told The Sacramento Press on Thursday that renewing the assessment is not a rubber-stamp process.
“We have to get a majority of the property owners to sign off on it, and there are some big owners like Sutter (Hospital), the state, (Regional Transit) and Union Pacific,” she said. “The bigger property owners are paying a lot of money.”
Studebaker said the majority of the work, which began last fall, is done, and the balloting process – handled by the city – will begin in late May or early June.
If renewed, the new assessment will begin Jan. 1, 2013, and run through Dec. 31, 2017.
Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell.