The Asheville downtown Business Improvement District has submitted its proposed budget, as required by Asheville City Council, and revised bylaws in an attempt to address concerns form city government.
On March 12, some Council members expressed disappointment that the BID hadn’t submitted a budget earlier, gave it a March 18 deadline, and delayed approval of its bylaws. At its March 14 meeting, BID board members complained in harsh terms about Council’s requests and skepticism, and some threatened to walk away from the project entirely. On March 26, Council will vote on whether or not to approve a seven cents per $100 tax on downtown property, as well as the BID’s budget and bylaws.
The introduction to the budget, noting that the BID Board, as well as the interim board that developed the idea over the last two years and the downtown management subcommittee of the city’s master plan for the area all agreed on the basic structure. Some of the current BID board members served in those groups as well.
“All three groups emphasized the importance that a majority of that Board be property owners within the district,” the introduction reads. “This is not the scary scenario you may have imagined.” It adds that the revised bylaws give the city more appointments to the BID board and more oversight.
“We have increased the board from 15 to 18. Council will have 6 appointments, so you will have 4 spots to appoint a renter, a non-profit representative, a religious entity, whatever – as well as a specified homeless services provider and council representative,” one example reads.
If approved, the proposed $601,218 budget is funded by $454,014 in tax revenues and an additional $147,203 requested the city of Asheville and Buncombe County. The budget includes an $80,000 salary for the BID’s manager as well as $40,580 in office expenses. The lion’s share of the funds will go to a “Clean Team” that would pressure wash sidewalks, clean up litter, and empty trashcans, among other duties.
The BID’s employees would also “notify their supervisor of any unusual activity, issues or conditions. (They will notify, NOT intervene.)” as well as cleaning graffiti and removing fliers, stickers and posters from public spaces.
If Council doesn’t approve the BID’s tax levy before the end of the month, another year will pass before the proposal can go into effect.