Property owners within the Chattanooga Downtown Alliance (formerly Business Improvement District) now have until June 30 to pay their assessment.
While a late fee would normally be applied after March 1, there was an issue with the online component of paying the fee, so many did not know the fee was due back in October.
Under normal circumstances, being late to pay the fee would accrue penalties and interest over time. However, because a large number of people were unable to pay their fee, the board discussed extending the grace period for a few months.
During this grace period, no late fees or penalties would be added to the existing assessment fee.
Chairman Steve Hunt said, “So we decided we would waive and not accrue any interest or penalties until beginning July 1. Steve, myself, Julia Bursch, and others have reached out to property owners who have not paid, so there has been a concerted effort to reach out.”
The Steve referred to is Steve Brookes, the group's new executive director. He will have a measure of freedom to make purchases after the board decided to set a minimum expense limit on purchases. During the Wednesday afternoon Zoom meeting, the board discussed what that number should be.
“One of the issues to be dealt with is setting some kind of expense limit for him to make purchases without having to come to the executive committee or board for approval,” said Gordon Stalans.
Mr. Stalans said that he and Mr. Brookes took a look at information from an alliance that was about the size of Chattanooga. He said their limit was about $2,500, which Mr. Stalans said seemed to be something of a low number for Chattanooga. He then said $5,000 would be a more reasonable amount.
“This is looking for an expense limit once we are in our day to day operations,” said Chairman Hunt. “I personally like Gordon’s suggestion of $5,000 to give Steve the opportunity to work best on our behalf.”
The board then unanimously agreed upon the $5,000 limit for purchases not requiring approval.
The group is currently in the process of finding an office space for their operations. Executive Director Brookes said, “I wish it were simple to select a space, but there’s a lot that goes into it. We want to make sure we’re efficient in our deployment and efficient with our ambassador program, and conscious of who we are going to be around and where we are going to be in the district.”
Location is not the only aspect the CDA and Mr. Brookes will need to mull over before deciding upon a site or building.
“We have to check for parking spaces, we have to check for additional storage in a different part of the building,” said Mr. Brookes. “And access into the building, and having the right space for both operations manager, the ambassadors, and myself in the space. So there’s a lot of thought that goes into it.”
Mr. Brookes then told the board that he believed the CDA is close to choosing an office space downtown.
“We’re really making sure we get everything right to begin with, and spending special assessment money wisely,” he said. “It’s been a good effort, and I think we’re close to finalizing something.”