Business Improvement District renewal considered in Feb. 19 public hearing
This week, the City Commission will hold a public hearing and consider renewing the Business Improvement District for another 10 years.
The goal of the BID is to maintain, beautify, and stimulate development in Great Falls’ historic downtown district.
The Great Falls BID was originally created in May 1989, recreated in July 1999 and again in July 2009.
State law allows for the creation of business improvement districts for the purpose of promoting the health, safety, prosperity, security and general welfare of the inhabitants of the district and to provide special benefit to the property owners located within the boundaries of said district.
BIDs are established for 10 years under state law, but can be renewed.
The BID boundary has not changed since 1989 and there are 195 parcels within the boundary, including some owned by Cascade County and the City of Great Falls.
To renew the district, state law requires that 60 percent or more of the property owners within the boundary vote to renew.
This year, 82.75 percent of property owners have voted to renew the district. A handful of property owners voted no and some did not return ballots.
In January, the commission voted to set a public hearing for Feb. 19, and a legal notice was posted Jan. 18 giving property owners within the district 15 days to file a written protest with the city.
During the protest period, one protest was received in the city clerk’s office, making a 0.22 percent protest against the district. One protest was received after the protest period ended, which would have brought the protest to 1 percent had it been received by the deadline.
Within the district, property owners are assessed a specific amount that funds the BID’s operations, to include snow removal, holiday decor, beautification, visitor information, grants and more.
The city and county parcels are exempt from the assessment so long as the government entities remain owners of those parcels.
The assessment formula presented to the property owners and recommended to the City Commission is as follows:
- 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 $.00165 times the market valuation as provided for by the Montana State Legislature, and
- an assessment of $.015 times the square footage of the land area.