County Commission Will Not Allow Trustee To Bill For Controversial Business Improvement District After All; Move Puts BID Effort In Jeopardy For Upcoming Year

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The County Commission on Wednesday reversed course and voted not to take part in any billing to downtown property owners for the controversial Business Improvement District (BID).

The move puts the status of the BID in jeopardy for the upcoming year.

Kim White, president of the Rivercity Company, said earlier she had been planning all along for Trustee Bill Hullander to put the assessments on tax bills - at least for the first year.

Ms. White called the move "disappointing." She said officials will attempt to find a different method for sending out the bills in time for the program to go forward.

Trustee Hullander said his office had already chosen a printer and sent the bills to the printer. However, he said there was still time to omit the BID assessments from the county tax bill.

He earlier said he had agreed to handle the BID billing and at the same time the city agreed to allow the county to handle actions against property owners delinquent on their property taxes. He said the latter move would cut the legal costs for affected property owners from about $800 to about $400. He said his office would bring in from $80,000 to $100,000 in handling the two programs.

After the surprise vote on Wednesday, Trustee Hullander said he would check with the city to see if it is still willing for him to handle the cases for both the city and county on property owners who have not paid their taxes. He said, if so, it still would need to be approved by the County Commission in a separate resolution.

Randy Fairbanks, vice chairman, earlier voted to allow the county to do the billing. However, he asked for a revote and sided against it. Others opposed to the county doing the billing were Sabrena Smedley, Chip Baker, Tim Boyd and Katherlyn Geter.

Opposed to the motion were Commissioners Greg Martin, Warren Mackey and David Sharpe. Chester Bankston left at the start of the discussion.

A lawsuit has also been filed by the Paty family and William Wise against the city on the BID issue.

Plans had been to assess affected property owners to provide special services for the district under a budget of $1 million.


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