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File #: 2020-7923   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 5/19/2020
Title: Public Hearing to Consider Adoption of Resolution Confirming the Park Street Business Improvement Area Annual Assessment Report for Fiscal Year 2020-21 and Levying an Annual Assessment on the Park Street BIA. (Community Development 256)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Annual Assessment Report, 2. Exhibit 2 - Fee Schedule, 3. Exhibit 3 - Boundaries Map, 4. Exhibit 4 - Address List, 5. Resolution

Title

 

Public Hearing to Consider Adoption of Resolution Confirming the Park Street Business Improvement Area Annual Assessment Report for Fiscal Year 2020-21 and Levying an Annual Assessment on the Park Street BIA. (Community Development 256)

Body

To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The Alameda City Council will hold a public hearing to levy an annual assessment on the businesses within the Park Street Business Improvement Area (BIA), which is managed on behalf of the City of Alameda (City) by the Downtown Alameda Business Association (DABA).  The public hearing allows business owners in the BIA an opportunity to comment on or protest, the proposed annual assessment.

 

On April 21, 2020, the City Council provided a 60-day deferral for payment of both the BIA assessment fees and business license tax.  For Fiscal Year (FY) 2020-21, these fees and taxes will not be late until September 30, 2020.  In addition, at its May 5, 2020 meeting, the City Council adopted a resolution declaring its intention to set the proposed FY 2020-21 BIA levy at the same level as the FY 2019-20 levy.

 

Staff is requesting that the City Council hold a public hearing and adopt a resolution to confirm the Park Street BIA’s annual report and to levy the annual BIA assessment, with no annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment, for FY 2020-21.

 

BACKGROUND

 

In 1989, as permitted by the Parking and Business Improvement Area Law of 1979 in the California Streets and Highway Code, the City Council established regulations for BIAs in the Park Street and Webster Street commercial areas.  This staff report is for the Park Street BIA, which is managed by DABA.

 

The Park Street BIA is funded from fees collected by the City from all businesses within the business district.  The pooling of resources improves the business district as a whole and directly benefits business owners through the general promotion of business activities and public events, beautification and ambiance, construction and maintenance of parking facilities, and special projects benefitting the business area. 

 

State law and the Alameda Municipal Code (AMC) require the City Council to work in collaboration with a BIA advisory board.  The board prepares an annual report and provides recommendations to the City Council on the proposed expenditure of BIA revenues for its geographic area.  The AMC also requires an annual review by the City Council and a yearly consideration of the assessment.

 

On May 5, 2020, the City Council approved DABA’s annual assessment report for the next fiscal year (FY 2020-21), with its projected activities budget (Exhibit 1).  In an addendum to its annual report, DABA requested that: 

 

1.                     There not be an annual CPI adjustment to the assessment fees; and

2.                     The BIA assessment fees and City business license renewal be mailed 90 days after the State’s shelter-in-place order has been lifted.  The City Council had addressed this issue at its April 21, 2020 meeting.

 

The City Council addressed these issues by adopting a resolution declaring its intention to set the proposed FY 2020-21 levy at the same level as the FY 2019-20 levy and by providing a 60-day deferral for payment of both the BIA assessment fee and business license tax.  For FY 2020-21, these fees and taxes will not be late until September 30, 2020

 

The City Council also received the BIA Assessment Fee Schedule (with no CPI adjustment, as requested), BIA Boundary Map, and the BIA Address list (Exhibits 2, 3, and 4).  Lastly, the City Council adopted a Resolution of Intention to Levy an Annual Assessment on the Park Street BIA and set a public hearing for May 19, 2020. 

 

DISCUSSION

 

The Park Street BIA is divided into two areas, Area A and Area B. Businesses in Area A are in closer proximity to the retail core, and pay a slightly higher rate than businesses in Area B.  Per Section 6-7.5(j) of the AMC, each year the BIA assessment has an automatic CPI increase based on the San Francisco Area CPI.  This year’s CPI increase of 2.5% would have raised the minimum retail business annual fee by $8.00, to $344.00, in Zone A and by $4.00, to $176.00, in Zone B.  With no CPI adjustment this year, the minimum retail business fee would remain $336 in Zone A and $172 in Zone B.

 

The annual BIA assessment requires a two-step process.  First, the City Council must approve the annual report and pass a Resolution of Intent to Levy an Assessment and, second, hold a public hearing to levy the assessment.  The Resolution of Intent to Levy an Assessment was adopted on May 5, 2020.  Notice of the May 19, 2020 public hearing was advertised in the Alameda Sun on May 7, 2020.  All BIA members were mailed notification of the public hearing, in addition to instructions on how to protest the BIA renewal, should they wish to do so. 

 

The next step to levy the annual assessment is to hold the public hearing, which allows affected parties a final opportunity to comment.  The FY 2020-21 assessment cannot be levied if protests are received by the owners of businesses in the area which will pay fifty percent (50%) or more of the assessment.  While the City Council approved the assessment report at its May 5, 2020 meeting, it may choose to modify the assessment report-including changes to the proposed assessments-based on public comments it receives at the May 19, 2020 public hearing.  According to the AMC, Section 6-7.13(b):

 

During the course or upon the conclusion of the public hearing, the City Council may order changes in any of the matters provided in the report, including changes in the proposed assessments . . .

 

After the hearing, the City Council may adopt a Resolution confirming the report as originally filed or as changed.  Adoption of the Resolution will constitute the levy of the assessment for FY 2020-21. 

 

Staff is requesting that the City Council hold a public hearing and adopt a resolution to confirm the Park Street BIA’s annual report and to levy the annual BIA assessment, with no annual CPI adjustment, for FY 2020-21. This waiver of the CPI adjustment for FY 2020-21 would not impair any contracts executed by the Park Street BIA from being paid from the revenues derived from the annual levy of assessments. (AMC 6-7.11(c)).

 

ALTERNATIVES

 

                     The City Council may decide to levy the annual BIA assessment, with the annual CPI, adjustment for FY 2020-21. 

 

                     The City Council may order changes in other matters provided in the annual report, such as proposed activities to be funded with BIA revenues, per AMC Section 6-7.13(b).

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

BIA billing is done concurrently with Business License billing.  Revenues from the BIA directly benefit business owners in specified geographic and benefit zones through the promotion of business and similar eligible activities.  The primary financial impact to the General Fund is in the form of Finance Department staff costs to process BIA billing and expenditures, estimated to be approximately $7,500 annually ($2,250 for WABA and $5,250 for DABA) and included in the Business License Program Budget (Fund 001, Program 2450).

 

Community Development Department staff estimates it costs $18,700 annually to support and participate in monthly WABA and DABA board meetings and subcommittee meetings.  This cost has been absorbed within existing staff workloads to provide indirect financial support to the business districts. (Fund 256)

 

MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOCUMENT CROSS REFERENCE

 

The annual renewal of the BIA supports the goals of the Economic Development Strategic Plan (EDSP) through continued operation of the business association consistent with AMC Sec. 6-7 et seq. 

 

EDSP Strategy 4 states: “The City of Alameda’s role is to continue to support existing shopping and dining districts by working with private property owners and business associations to improve retail spaces and the public realm.”

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

This action involves government fiscal activities which do not include a commitment to any project which may result in a potentially significant physical impact on the environment and is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), pursuant to CEQA Guidelines section 15378(b)(4).

 

CLIMATE IMPACTS

 

Not applicable to this report.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Hold a public hearing and adopt a Resolution Confirming the Park Street BIA Report for Fiscal Year 2020-21, and Levying an Annual Assessment on the Park Street BIA.

 

CITY MANAGER RECOMMENDATION

 

The City Manager recommends adoption of the Resolution confirming the Park Street BIA report and levying an annual assessment on Park Street.

 

The BIA levy does not include a CPI increase this year.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Debbie Potter, Community Development Director

 

By,

Eric Fonstein, Development Manager

 

Financial Impact section reviewed,

Nancy Bronstein, Acting Finance Director

 

Exhibits:

1.                     Annual Assessment Report

2.                     Fee Schedule

3.                     Boundaries Map

4.                     Address List

 

cc:                     Eric Levitt, City Manager

Downtown Alameda Business Association