Santa Paula: Business Owners and Council Approve Downtown BID

By Sheryl Hamlin

On July 29, 2019 at a Special Council meeting, the city council was informed of the voting results for the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID). Read here about the initial meeting for the BID where one person spoke against the BID. The map of the district is shown in the previous article.

As in the previous meeting, Mayor Garman and Council Member Juarez recused themselves due to property conflicts with the BID boundaries.

One citizen, Krys Bojanowski, who owns a building on Main Street spoke against the BID. His points were: 1) Why does the city not spend money cleaning the sidewalks? Why burden the business with more expense? 2) Businesses must pay many taxes already, so why the increase? 3) Why increase the bureaucracy when there is already an organization that exists to beautify and protect?

Assistant City Manager Tamoepeau reported that the ROI (Resolution of Intention) passed with 54% voting to move forward with the current step. The City Clerk, he said, has the ballots, which will be tallied at tonight’s meeting. If the voting is positive, then the council can vote the BID to move forward or deny.

Vice Mayor Araiza was concerned about the question of those who did not return ballots. Are these considered ‘no’ votes? He said he asked this at the previous meeting and wanted it clarified. While staff looked for the tape, the BID Consultant Christine Rolf said that there was a legal notification clarifying the voting on the ballot. She also used the phrase “Clean and Safe BID Services” several times.

It was not clear who pays the BID consultant now or in the future nor was this asked.

There was a brief break while the City Clerk tallied the votes. In the break, Mr. Bojanowski said that his BID fee would be $1000 annually.

Voting Results

The City Clerk Reported 72.6% in favor and 27.4% opposed with 41 ballots out of 62 possible received.

Council Member Crosswhite asked about hiring city staff. City Manager said that the BID Board will write its own articles of incorporation. The city, he said, is out of the process once the board meets.

The Assistant City Manager added that the BID must produce an annual report showing the budget and revenue. He also said that the city is the “conduit to the money” and that one staff will be a BID Board member. This latter statement appeared to contradict the City Manager statement about city involvement.

There was also no clarification about reimbursement for the city staff member’s time on the BID board and the use of city financial staff to distribute funds which presumably the city will receive from the county as property taxes are collected.

The reduced council approved the motion to proceed 3-0.

The BID consultant’s description of “Clean and Safe BID Services” appears to miss an important ingredient of a BID which is marketing and promotion such as the one for Downtown Vallejo.

As of the writing of this report, the video is not available.

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