Board Of Downtown Business Improvement District Asks Finance Committee To Take Another Look At Help For Non-Profits

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Maury Nicely, standing, and Tom White, right, spoke in behalf of non-profits who want BID assessments lowered or removed
Maury Nicely, standing, and Tom White, right, spoke in behalf of non-profits who want BID assessments lowered or removed

The board of the new downtown Business Improvement District voted on Wednesday to have its three-member finance committee take another look at providing help to four non-profits that are asking to be exempted from assessments.

The board, acting on the recommendation of the finance panel, earlier rejected any reductions in amounts charged to the non-profits that filed appeals.

Those are:

St.

Paul's Episcopal Church - $7,865.15 for building, $2,085.12 for parking lot

Second Presbyterian Church - $4,200.55 for building, $2,010.24 for parking lot

United Way - $3,060.02 

YMCA - $14,288.94

 

They were all represented at the board meeting at the River City Company headquarters at Miller Park.

 

Maury Nicely, speaking for St. Paul's, said the groups did not oppose setting up the BID "because we were assured that getting the exemptions was a mere formality."  He said, "Make no mistake, this directly impacts people that we provide services to."

 

Tom White, United Way board chairman, said, "This does represent a hardship for us. These are dollars the United Way would be spending to help people in the community."

 

Debbie Roth, of the Downtown YMCA, called the decision not to grant the exemptions "ridiculous."{ She said, "I went to the meetings and was told that it (granting of the exemptions) was a mere formality. It wasn't a mere formality.:

 

Rick Rushworth, an elder at Second Presbyterian, said, "We are a small church, but we do a lot in the downtown community." He said, concerning the new look by finance, "It seems like the finance committee is pretty much entrenched."

 

Matt McGauley, who serves on finance with Gordon Stalans and Donald O'Connor, had a letter read in which he said he was strongly opposed to granting the exemptions. He said the non-profits had to prove the assessments would be a financial hardship. He said they did not do so.

 

Mr. Stalans said the BID itself is a non-profit "and is also charged with being good stewards of our resources." He said if the group approves the initial requests it could snowball into taking over $100,000 from the annual budget of less than $1 million.

 

It was estimated there are between 13-18 non-profits downtown. Applications were submitted by just five and one was withdrawn. On the one that was withdrawn, board chairman Steve Hunt said top management pulled the application after learning it had been filed. He said they agreed with the need for the assessment.

 

Mr. O'Connor noted he was the only member of the board voting against the denial for the non-profits. He said he has long been active downtown and has seen the good work they do.

 

Pierre Dabit, who missed the meeting where the motion passed, also spoke in favor of the denial. He said, "This is a hardship if even one person cannot get what they need." He said the BID is a newcomer and the groups have been helping those downtown for decades. 

 

No meeting date has been set yet for the next meeting of the finance committee.

 

Members of the non-profits indicated they will attend that session.

 

 

 

Board heard appeals from non-profits
Board heard appeals from non-profits

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