Downtown business improvement district reaches renewal threshold
Downtown property owners have voted to renew the Business Improvement District.
The renewal will still require a public hearing and approval by the City Commission, which is scheduled for a February meeting.
Joan Redeen, community director of the BID, told the district’s board this week that 83.32 percent of property owners within the boundary had voted for renewal, including both the City of Great Falls and Cascade County.
Some property owners didn’t return their ballots, but Redeen said she doesn’t anticipate protests.
Created in 1989, the BID is governed by Montana Code Annotated and funded by a special assessment that property owners within the boundary vote to impose on themselves.
There are about 180 properties within the BID boundary and the district is up for renewal every 10 years and has remained in existence since it’s creation nearly 30 years ago.
In July, Redeen presented their budget and work plan to the City Commission. The BID is projecting $248,000 in assessment revenue for this fiscal year. That’s up significantly fiscal year 2010 when assessment revenue totaled $158,000. The increase in assessments can be attributed in part to the rise in property values downtown.
The role of the BID is beautification and the assessment funds, plus some other revenues, are used to operate the BID office, grant programs, tree maintenance, beautification efforts and additional projects for streetscapes and economic growth.
The BID assessment is follows this formula as approved by the BID board and the City Commission:
- a flat fee of $200.00 for each lot or parcel;
- a flat fee of $50.00 for each lot or parcel with a designated Land Use Code of 125 which is a Residential Condominium;
- an assessment of $0.00165 times the market valuation as provided for by the Montana State Legislature; and
- an assessment of $0.015 times the square footage of the land area.
The BID is currently putting holiday decor back up downtown so it’s ready in time for the Parade of Lights at the end of November and is also considering ideas for turning trash enclosures into works of art and other public art projects.