Wednesday, April 30, 2008

SID Needs Better City Help

An erroneous legal notice on assessments of property owners in the Special Improvement District was recently blamed on the Courier News, but a closer look raises questions.

The SID assessments are special taxes that are used to fund promotional efforts in the downtown and South Avenue business districts. Each year, there must be a public notice of assessments published in local newspapers. Property owners are thus informed of their obligations to support the program.

City Administrator Marc Dashield told the City Council that the Courier News made a mistake in publishing the April 25 notice, which said the public hearing would be held Dec. 20, 2006. Obviously this was an error.

SID officials were told that the city submitted a dummy report in order to hold the space for the real report. But if that is the case, why were the assessment listings in the fake report identical to those in the ad for actual 2008 actual assessments?

It smacks of the simple error of not updating stale information at the top of a stored document.

Last year, the office charged with setting up these notices apparently submitted information in March 2007 that included three categories of facts on the properties, but not the actual assessments. A revised notice published on April 9, 2007 had the proper column headings for the assessed value of the property and the SID assessment.

These errors only complicate the SID’s ability to do its job. For this fiscal year, the SID will formally receive its funding at the tail-end. The SID submitted its budget in November and should not be penalized for delays and errors on the city side that result in a six-month delay of funding.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The SID was set-up to promote commercial appeal of the downtown! This goal, though an admirable one, denied the quality of life issues whose presence are a contradiction to this goal. Mayor McWilliams, an advocate for the SID, believed that quality of life issues such as garabge pick-up, abandoned buildings, drug dealing, public urination,etc. had to made a priorty if the SID was to be successful. Who would be attracted to a downtown whose appearance effectively detracts from commercial appeal??? Maybe the SID should be disbanded! Not given more $$$$$$. Councilman Ray Blanco, god rest his soul, had similar thoughts on the SID.

5:06 PM  

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