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By Mike Hazlip—
A proposal to renew the Property-based Business Improvement District (PBID) for the largest business district in Citrus Heights has passed a major hurdle, making it appear more likely the district will continue for another three-year term and be able to continue funding private patrols and other business support services.
For context, see prior story: Funding of business district cop at stake in renewal vote
Sunrise MarketPlace Executive Director Kathilynn Carpenter told The Sentinel in an email Friday that petitions supporting the renewal and its associated tax have been received from owners representing $439,563, or about 52 percent of the total assessed value of properties in the MarketPlace.
“This is a quite an achievement as only one small owner (U.S. Bank parcel) supported the renewal with a signed petition,” she said. As of June 4, renewal petitions had not been received from four owners of large parcels within the district, including Sunrise Mall majority owner, Namdar Realty Group.
Other major property owners supporting the petition included Citrus Town Center, Greenback Square. The owners of Marketplace at Birdcage, Sunrise Village, Sunrise Hills, Hobby Lobby, Lowe’s, and Sunrise Plaza have also supported the petition, according to Carpenter.
The Sunrise MarketPlace is made up of 400-plus businesses in the Sunrise-Greenback commercial corridor and was formed as a PBID in 1999. The district plays a supportive and marketing role for businesses, along with hosting events and most recently hiring a dedicated patrol officer to increase security in the district.
As previously reported in The Sentinel, funding for the district comes from a property tax assessment paid by each of the roughly 80 property owners in the district, rather than being paid directly by business owners or coming from the city’s General Fund. Similar to a homeowners association, each property owner helps fund the PBID and likewise has a say in how that money will be spent to benefit their specific area.
The arrangement has made PBIDs increasingly popular among cities as a way to enhance commercial areas while not raising taxes on residents. However, in order for the PBID tax to be levied, a majority of property owners in the district have to vote in favor of paying the assessment.
With a mix of local and corporate property owners in the district, Carpenter said it has been difficult at times to reach the appropriate decision makers.
“The challenge for us is we have a lot of large parcels,” she said. “We don’t have a huge amount of property owners like some PBIDs do, and we have a lot of chains, and it’s hard to get to the right person. It can take a long time to work it’s way through their hierarchy. Even if they support it, it can just take time to get to the right person to sign.”
The initial petition deadline is June 10, and Carpenter said she is expecting more petitions to come in by that date.
A hearing is scheduled for the June 24 City Council meeting, and the city plans to send out ballots following the hearing, Carpenter said.
A second hearing is scheduled for August 12 when ballots will be counted. The ballot process is secret, and Carpenter said the results will not be known until after the meeting.
Ballots will be weighted by each of the properties’ assessed values, so organizers don’t need approval from a majority of property owners within the MarketPlace, just the stakeholders responsible for at least 50 percent of the MarketPlace’s total assessed value.
If not enough ballots are returned in support, the Sunrise MarketPlace PBID is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2021.
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