Thursday, February 05, 2009

BIA Board Reduces Rates for 2009-2010

At the January meeting of the Downtown Business Improvement Area Board of Directors the Board voted to reduce assessment rates by 5% for the 2009-2010 FY beginning in May 2009. This action will decrease the rate paid by commercial and residential properties from 10.94 cents per square foot to 10.39 cents per square foot. The rate for vacant properties and parking lots will be reduced from 5.35 cents per square foot to 5.08 cents per square foot.

Given the current state of the economy and the economic challenges facing both property owners and tenants the action of the Board seeks to provide some relief to ratepayers. In developing the budget for the next fiscal year the Board was cautious to keep expenses low while continuing to provide the high level of service that ratepayers, tenants and downtown users have come to expect. Total expenses for 2009-2010 are proposed to increase by only 0.03%.

The operating budget of the BIA is just over $842,000. For FY 2009-2010 approximately $63,000 will be applied from the BIA’s reserve fund to cover expenses.

In 2008 the Tacoma City Council approved residential properties to move from the low assessment rate to the high assessment rate. Due to a clerical error residents continued to be billed at the low rate in 2008-2009 despite the approved change. In 2009-2010 residential properties will be billed at the high rate as dictated by the 2008 Ordinance No. 27696.

The Tacoma City Council approves the assessment rates, budget and work plan proposed by the BIA Board annually. The City Council will hear the first reading of the ordinance on March 10th, 2009. The second reading of the ordinance for approval will occur on March 24th, 2009.

The BIA was founded by downtown property owners in 1988. Since then the BIA has provided additional maintenance and security services for the 84 block of the downtown core.

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