What you need to know about Tuesday's final Business Improvement District vote, public hearing

What you need to know about Tuesday's final Business Improvement District vote, public hearing

July 29th, 2019 by Sarah Grace Taylor in Breaking News

Chattanooga City Council holds a voting session on Aug. 22, 2017.

Photo by Erin O. Smith

What is the BID?

Commercial and nonprofit landowners in the district will pay an annual assessment of 9 cents per square foot, of either the lot or building size, whichever is greater, plus $4.95 per linear foot of lot frontage. Residential property owners with townhouses or condominiums would pay a flat annual fee of $150 per unit.

The Chattanooga City Council will cast its final vote Tuesday on the second attempt this summer to form a controversial Business Improvement District.

Here's what you should know about the upcoming BID votes:

— The council last month failed to pass the formation of a BID, a special district of property owners, due to a lack of a motion at the end of a hectic, two-hour public hearing and council debate.

— The original ordinance was brought to the council with a survey of property owners within the proposed district that indicated that 60.51% of total property owners representing 81.96% of the assessed value supported the BID. The new ordinance is council sponsored and was formed by District 7 Councilman Erskine Oglesby, District 2 Councilman Jerry Mitchell and District 8 Councilman Anthony Byrd. The new legislation includes many of the amendments to remove liability from the city, audit and impose other requirements on the proposed BID's governing board, which were proposed by council members during the last Business Improvement District vote.

— Tuesday's vote is the second of two on the ordinance. The ordinance narrowly passed last week with five yes votes, two no votes, one abstention and one absence.

— Per state law, there will be a public hearing on the BID for those impacted by the ordinance. While the council limited that definition to mean that only people who own property within the BID could speak last time, it has since changed the rules of the public hearing to include:

  • Business owners and property owners will be allowed to speak.
  • The council will allow a total of 30 minutes for opposition of the district and a total of 30 minutes for supporters of the district.
  • Individual speakers must keep their comments under three minutes.
  • Speakers are required to sign up on sheets provided outside of the city council chambers before the start of the 6 p.m. hearing/meeting.

— If approved on both readings, the district would provide $1 million annually to support services making the area cleaner and safer, as well as having enhanced beautification and special projects. Commercial and nonprofit landowners in the district will pay an annual assessment of 9 cents per square foot, of either the lot or building size, whichever is greater, plus $4.95 per linear foot of lot frontage. Residential property owners with townhouses or condominiums would pay a flat annual fee of $150 per unit.

The council will meet at 1:30 p.m. for the strategic planning meeting, 3 p.m. for the agenda meeting and 6 p.m. for the regular voting meeting. The public hearing will take place at the very beginning of the 6 p.m. meeting. All meetings are in the city council building at 1000 Lindsay St.

The full council agenda may be viewed at chattanooga.gov/city-council/agendas minutes-by-date.

Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at 423-757-6416 or at staylor@timesfreepress.com. Follow her on Twitter at @_sarahgtaylor.


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