This time of year the Business Organization of Old Town (BOOT) is hard at work getting ready for our many events in 2017. Along with our logistics of planning events, we are looking for sponsors interested in participating in our activities and we are creating some custom packages with benefits for interested businesses. Give us a call if you are looking to promote your business.
The City of Clovis has contracted with Civitas, a consulting firm based in Sacramento, to consider two Property Based Improvement Districts (PBIDs), one for Old Town Clovis and one for a section of Shaw Avenue from Highway 168 to Clovis Avenue. These Districts are composed of property owners who will control a budget for services.
The business owners in Old Town Clovis formed a Parking and Business Improvement Area (PBIA) in the early ’70s as a funding source for marketing the area. The PBIA is funded with a portion of business owner’s license fees, and these fees are insufficient to cover the necessary services Old Town needs.
In the case of the PBID, the property owners will be petitioned to add an assessment to their property taxes in order to raise $250,000 annually to cover services they choose in the service plan.
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The PBID will provide financial resources to better achieve our mission to develop, promote and protect the downtown Clovis area. The PBID and its activities aim to build upon the streetscape revitalization effort implemented in the ’80s, which is in need of maintenance and improvement that the City of Clovis cannot sustain.
The area under consideration is from 10th Street north to Sierra Avenue and from Woodworth Avenue east to Clovis Avenue, including a corridor along Bullard and 5th Streets from Minnewawa. It aligns with the City of Clovis Specific Plan, found here: www.ci.clovis.ca.us/Depts-Services/Planning-and-Development/City-Planning/Central-Clovis-Specific-Plan
What is a PBID?
Used in thriving downtown areas throughout California, including Long Beach, Pasadena and Sacramento, Property Business Improvement Districts provide a stable funding source for much needed services and promotions. They are funded through an assessment on real property located within the benefit district.
What is the money used for?
All funds generated by the assessment district are reinvested in the determined area for the benefit of assessed properties. Currently the service plan is being discussed for both Old Town and the Shaw Corridor and is a plan determined by feedback from property owners in each PBID.
This feedback is collected through outreach meetings and surveys. Each property owner in these proposed PBID areas was sent a letter of introduction, a postcard to ask them to take an online survey or to call a number to give their survey answers over the phone.
There was a meeting on Nov. 3 where all property owners were invited to attend and express their concerns, ask questions and gain insight as to how the PBID would benefit them. A service plan is being developed to include security, maintenance of landscaping, flower and tree pots, lighting, steam cleaning of sidewalks, purchase of flowers and replacement trees and landscape materials, promotion of the area, i.e. banners on light poles and administration and contingency funds (usually 2 percent) in case of emergencies. In addition, for the Shaw Corridor, a portion of funds will be used for directional signage and Ambassadors for Homeless people who can direct people for services. These services are “proposed” and ultimately the decision of the property owners for each PBID.
What’s in it for business and property owners?
The purpose of a PBID is to create a sustainable, stable funding source for needed services and joint marketing in the Old Town Clovis and Shaw Corridor. The goal of these efforts is to attract more customers and generate increased revenue, which in turn increases tenancy rates and property values. By joining the PBID effort, you leverage your individual contribution into more than $250,000 annually in investment for each of these two PBID areas. Every dollar of these funds is dedicated to making the PBID footprints more desirable and thus more profitable for the property owners.
How is the PBID governed? Who decides exactly how the money is spent?
The PBID is governed by a nonprofit organization created by the property owners. All property owners located within the district are automatically members of the Association, which is governed by a Board of Directors. Property owners in the Old Town Clovis PBID would choose Directors, and the Shaw Corridor would also choose Directors. While the Board is bound by the general budget categories, they create the budget and make decisions on specific line items. All meetings of The Old Town Clovis and Shaw Corridor PBIDs and the Board of Directors are subject to the Brown Act and open to the public.
The Board of Directors consists of a majority of property owners in each area, some of who are also business owners. Two seats on the board are dedicated to the two largest property owners (who, by extension, also pay the largest assessments). The remainder of the seats are chosen by election, in which all business and property owners may run and vote.
Assessment vs. Tax
The PBID creates a new assessment on real property in each PBID area, which is different from a tax. Once taxes are collected, you, as a taxpayer, may not know how and where the money is spent, and it may or may not benefit you personally. However, assessment funds must be used to benefit the properties paying the assessment. All funds are reinvested in the area of the PBID for the benefit of properties within the district. Expenditures are controlled by the Board of Directors, which consists of property and business owners. Residential units are exempt from assessment.
The formation process formally kicked off in October. Notices regarding the meetings, as well as a request to take an online survey, were sent to all property owners within the district to the address on file with the County Assessor. Based on the feedback collected through these meetings and surveys, a Management District Plan will be formulated to provide the structure for a PBID that would provide the services requested by property owners. Throughout April and May 2017, a petition drive will be conducted, during which time petitions in support of the PBID will be collected from property owners representing more than 50 percent of all properties within the district boundaries, thus initiating the balloting process.
In spring of 2017 petitions need to be signed and by early summer, the ballots will be mailed to all property owners in the proposed PBID area at the address on file with the Fresno County Assessor. Property owners will be requested to submit ballots until mid-June. A hearing will be set and ballots will be counted.
Per State law, in both the petition phase and the balloting process, votes are weighted based on percentage of ownership. For example, a property owner who owns 1 percent of the total property in the PBID footprint will pay 1 percent of the total assessment and have 1 percent of the total voting weight.
As we move into exciting developments in 2017, we look for property owner support and involvement. Questions regarding the PBID can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 559-298-5774.