CBID still a possibility for downtown

Published 10:14 am Monday, November 10, 2014

A Central Business Improvement District could still be in the future for Elizabethton, and monies collected as a result of its formation would be used to fund about $235,000 of improvements to the downtown area.
The formation of a CBID would allow for the creation of a fund to be used by downtown property owners and funded by an additional property tax placed on those properties.
More than half of the property owners in the proposed area would need to sign a petition requesting the creation of the district. It could also be formed through a resolution by the Elizabethton City Council.
Elizabethton Director of Planning and Development Jon Hartman told members of the Downtown Business Association Thursday plans for the downtown area have been reviewed and a cost estimate for improvements is available.
With these steps complete, the CBID planning committee can move ahead with forming a petition which will include details about the CBID, and can be distributed to downtown property owners.
“This is a way to improve a particular area,” Hartman said. “Any additional property taxes collected inside the district will go right back into a fund for projects only to be used in the CBID.”
Hartman said a 2008 downtown improvement plan was reviewed by the planning committee, who then chose which portions should be used for future improvements. CBID funding would be used for landscaping as well as intersection and parking lot improvements.
“The estimate of $235,000 is lower than we expected, which is a good thing,” Hartman said. “It is also important to realize this would happen over a five to 10 year period. We would be taking small bites out of a large goal while making improvements to downtown.”
Based on that amount, Hartman estimates the additional property tax would be less than $100 a year for each owner.
With more concrete information available, Hartman said the committee can proceed with developing a goal and a petition to be distributed to property owners.
“Then we can move forward with getting it signed,” he said.
After the CBID is formed, the fund will be managed by a board of assessment and the city or by a district management corporation. If the board is chosen, the board sets the property assessment rate and the city makes all the improvements. If the corporation is chosen the city, along with the corporation, sets the rate and the corporation has the power to make decisions for the funds.
Funds accumulated by the CBID can be used for purchasing, leasing, construction or maintaining property and parking facilities. It can also be used for advertising, business or residential recruitment, contracting with professional services or aesthetic improvements.

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