Local CBD halts SSMID

Working on ‘new plan’

Nord, Fauna 2014

Citing significant opposition, President Fauna Nord of the Central Business District told the Marshalltown City Council at its Monday night meeting the organization has stopped efforts to implement a Self Supporting Municipal Improvement District.

Nord read briefly from a statement, and said CBD would be working with SSMID opponents and supporters to develop a “new (downtown) plan” where “everyone can get along.”

However, Nord said shelving the SSMID would mean delaying needed improvements.

One positive which came from SSMID discussions, Nord said, was it identified a large number of property owners who felt strongly about downtown.

She did say CBD would continue to be a force in working to improve downtown by marshaling the energy and passion generated from SSMID discussions.

SSMID is a self-imposed levy upon commercial and industrial property taxable value within a district. Had it been approved by the city council, a downtown property owner would have added costs of doing business.

The funds collected from the levy are restricted to improving the business and cultural environment of a specific district.

Supporters claimed the estimated $60,000 to $80,000 generated from SSMID levies was needed to advance the mission of the CBD.

Conversely, SSMID opponents have said the levy on their individual properties would be a financial burden. Some suggested the CBD engage in more creative and efficient fundraising among other ideas, to improve revenue.

The CBD/Main Street program staff and volunteers had been working most of this year prompting SSMID benefits to property owners in the district.

Nord’s announcement came four days after downtown SSMID objectors filed documents with the city detailing opposition by approximately 103 property owners.

Jonathan Hull, owner-operator of Willard’s Furs and Fashions, and a SSMID opponent, submitted the documentation listing the 103 to City Clerk Sheri Coughenhour.

Hull said the 103 opponents constituted a sufficient number by Iowa law to halt city council action on SSMID, since it surpassed a required 40 percent threshold.

Previously, CBD had presented documents which detailed 63 property owners were supportive.

The 63 was five above the minimum required by Iowa law.

Meetings “behind the scenes”

David Thompson, owner-operator of Thompson’s True Value, told the T-R on Sept. 21 both opponents and supporters had been meeting “behind the scenes.”

“There are a number of us who have been working behind the scenes at different levels to come up with a resolution to get everyone on the same page,” Thompson said. “We all want the best for downtown … we are working to find common ground.”

CBD volunteer Nathan McCormick, who had taken a leadership role in promoting SSMID, also confirmed joint meetings.

“There is a lot of passion on both sides,” McCormick said. “We want to channel that passion and interest into improving downtown. We will continue meeting in hopes of coming to a successful resolution. We are discussing the different levy rates and other issues which concern the opposition. In the end, we hope to come up with a plan agreeable to all …. which would give the CBD additional financial resources.”

Opponents and supporters had marshaled forces at the Aug. 28 and Sept. 11 city council meetings and the Sept.

Supporters also claim an annual allotment from the city, fundraising and other revenue is not enough to make needed downtown improvements which would benefit downtown businesses. Those range from marketing strategies to sidewalk snow removal to support of popular events such as the Holiday Stroll.

The CBD’s decision to halt SSMID means the city council will not have to devote the Oct. 9 city council meeting to a SSMID hearing, which had been set Sept. 11 by Mayor Jim Lowrance.

Center Street bridge to be closed

The Center Street bridge will be closed for approximately two weeks for repairs.

However, the exact date is not known.

City Public Works Director Justin Nickel recommend the council approve a contract of $95,265 be awarded to Jasper Construction

The council voted 7-0 affirmitive.

“We did not want to delay this work until 2018, for fear of having to close the bridge for a longer period,” said Nickel.

He said residents would be alerted at least one week in advance of the closure.

“The closing will take place before Thanksgiving,” Nichols, said.

The next regular meeting of the city council is 5;30 p.m.,Oct 9 in council chambers, Carnegie Building, 10 W. State St. For more information, contact 641-754-5701, or visit ci.marshalltown.ia.us.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com