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Referendum for extension could bring BID full Circle

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  • | 5:00 a.m. January 9, 2013
  • Longboat Key
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If an upcoming vote is successful, the St. Armands Business Improvement District will get another go-around.
The BID, a district that assesses a special tax on approximately 80 properties, expires Sept. 30, 2013.

The city has finalized the registration list for an upcoming referenda vote and will now begin notifying each owner about the upcoming vote, which could begin in February and end in April.

The Sarasota City Commission voted unanimously to endorse the BID’s renewal last April. The endorsement included clarifications about the district, including a specification that the three-member board should consist of one landowner merchant and two landowner investors.

The commission voted 5-0 to approve a referendum vote for the district in December.

The BID was established in 2001 and assesses a special tax of 2 mills. One mill is equal to $1 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The City Auditor and Clerk’s Office assesses the total value of property in the district at $103,758,950.

Marty Rappaport, BID chair and leading organizer, told the Longboat Observer that he is “hopeful” about the extension.

“The BID has accomplished an awful lot in 10 years, and there are an awful lot of good projects we still hope to accomplish,” he said.

Landowners are required to petition the city for an extension of the BID. The clerk’s office has received petitions from 20% of landowners for a vote, as required for the referendum to move forward.

Landowners elected against extending the BID in 2009, amidst tensions between merchants, who sought representation on the BID, and landowners, who worried that if merchants were the majority, they would elect to use BID monies for special events, rather than capital improvements.

Since its inception, the BID has funded various upgrades and projects on St. Armands, including new street lighting, new and repaired sidewalks and median renovations, and has also partnered with the city on other projects.

If extended, the BID’s goals for the next decade include gathering funds for a parking garage on the Circle, creation of public bathrooms, burying power lines, landscape enhancements and creating Circle entrance signs for motorists.


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