At a Tuesday evening meeting of the Edmonds City Council Finance Committee, the issue was whether the city should impose a fee on the Business Improvement District (BID) in downtown Edmonds for processing documents and providing other services.
This topic was raised as part of a comprehensive discussion on the BID, also known as the Edmonds Downtown Alliance (ED). — which included how to address overdue dues of $38,000 or more owed by member companies.
Noting the cost of monitoring and collecting these dues payments, as well as other services the city provides, Dave Turley, the city’s director of administrative services, said the city could spend $6,000 to $8,000 annually on BID. proposed to charge a fee in the range of
BID was formed in early 2013 with City Council approval and encompasses an area of downtown Edmonds bounded by Bell Street to the north, Durbin Street to the east, Homeland Drive to the south, and Sunset Avenue South and the Railroad to the west. It contains. city.
BID operates on an annual budget of approximately $80,000, with all revenue coming from membership fees charged to members (currently $30-$90 per quarter). Through these assessments, BID funds programs such as beautification, marketing and parking.
How to force the payment of these dues has been an ongoing topic at a recent Congressional Finance Committee meeting. He pointed out that there are still unresolved issues. Among them are how a business collects late fees over $38,000 owed, whether the city should continue to charge his 12% interest on delinquent accounts, and if a business is in arrears. and whether collection should continue.
City Councilman Will Chen asked for some background on why businesses aren’t paying dues. Rogue Boutique owner Kimberly Koenig, president of ED! The Commission replied that he had two reasons. “I think some businesses are struggling with COVID. I think some businesses are choosing not to pay.”
As of Monday, 32 of BID’s 400 members are in arrears.
Koenig added that the number of people choosing not to pay “has not increased”, but it is the same business owners who have opposed the BID from the beginning.
City Councilman Diane Buckshnis said in 2019 the city council decided not to approve the city’s proposal to suspend the business licenses of downtown businesses who are behind on their BID payments. She said the council’s inaction had only put the problem on the back burner, and it was time to settle it.
“This dichotomy[with BID]has been going on for years,” says Buckshnis. “This is one of the biggest problems we have. Deciding that the BID is set up fine and all is well.”
Turley said that historically, the city sent BID members to collect dues six months in arrears, but they didn’t see much of a return on their efforts.
Addressing the question of what actions other community business improvement sectors are taking to address nonpayment of dues, Community Service and Economic Development Director Todd Tatum said: Some, like us, send them to collections,” Tatum said. “It’s really just a policy question of how much is acceptable in the system.”
About the city plan for paid ED! To the administrative services of both Konig and ED! Administrator Carrie Hulbert said she was concerned that the proposed rates would take up a large portion of the organization’s budget and would force it to cut shows.
Tatum also shared an infographic outlining what several other cities are doing regarding chargebacks to business improvement areas. The City of Spokane, whose budget is He’s $1.2 million to He’s $1.4 million, charges $8,000 a year, but is also a member of the Business Improvement Sector and pays dues. With a budget of $1 million, Everett has no chargebacks. The City of Seattle does not charge for the University District and Pioneer Square business improvement areas.
In a nutshell, Tatum said:
The City of Poulsborg has a budget of $80,000 for the business improvement area and imposes $3,000. Koenig said: We do it for downtown, and the sales that it brings offset what the cities we partner with help us with. “
However, Turley refutes these allegations, stating that the purpose of the ED is to benefit downtown! “And you’re bringing resources to a small part of the city. It’s a little unfair to say you’re helping the city, so you’re offering your services for free.” is needed.”
Turley also objected to comparing Edmonds to an association located in Seattle. The city of Seattle probably has “200 accountants who can unwittingly absorb the time it takes to manage this stuff. I have about 6 (accountants). I As far as I’m concerned, these are really unfair comparisons.”
She reiterated most of the Edmonds BID budget that would be affected by the proposed Edmonds fee, saying she respected Turley’s opinion. She then asked, “If we had a more plausible number than $8,000, wouldn’t that be a valid question?”
Buckshis suggested that Turley and Tatum “get together and decide what is acceptable to everyone”.
As for the 12% charge on delinquent accounts, Council Chair Vivian Olson, who was on a task force formed to discuss BID-related issues, said the 12% is not compounded annually, so It explains as follows. Very small, especially when compared to late fees on other bills.
BID-related issues are further discussed in the ED. We will submit a work plan to the City Council on October 25th.
On the council’s Parks and Public Works Committee, councilors considered a variety of issues. among them:
— Discussion of options for providing sufficient power to the Civic Center Playfield. The Snohomish County PUD requested an easement to replace the existing pole-mounted transformer with a new pad-mounted transformer, but the easement would not allow the construction of a new facility on the site. may affect the easement of the Edmonds Boys and Girls Club planning to Discussions about a solution will continue, said Angie Feather, director of parks, recreation and welfare services.
– Update on professional services contract for the next two phases of the design/right-of-way phase of the Highway 99 revitalization project. Plans to renovate Highway 99 have been underway since the Edmonds City Council approved the Highway and Surroundings Sub-Area Plan in 2017. The changes are intended to address traffic and pedestrian safety and livability issues on the portion of the highway that runs through Edmonds. .
The city is currently working on Phase 2, which includes the construction of a landscaped median and left-turn lanes from SW 244th to 210th Streets, and is expected to be completed by early next year. Stage 3 will include a segment from SW 244th Street to 238th Street, while Stage 4 will focus on SW 224th Street to his 220th Street. Both phases include capacity improvements, additional planter strips on both sides of the road, new sidewalks, new road/pedestrian lighting, better stormwater management, targeted utility replacement (water and sewage), overhead utilities. potential undergrounding (which could cost up to $11 million), and soft scape treatment.
The City requested qualifications to select Phase 3 and Phase 4 design consultants, and received one response from the SCJ Alliance. His SJC, which also worked on the design phase of Stage 2 of the Highway 99 project, was selected for the job. The city is still working with SCJ to develop a cost estimate for the project and will share it with the city council when it becomes available.
– Consideration of a parking agreement between the Port of Edmonds and the City of Edmonds in connection with the installation of tsunami warning sirens at Beach Place last year. The agreement, which will be posted on next week’s consent agenda, makes clear that the city is responsible for powering the sirens and replacing the batteries.
– Report from Snohomish County Solid Waste Superintendent John Gleninger on the county’s Comprehensive Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Plan. Greninger said the plan requires approval by the Snohomish County Council, as well as review by the state’s Department of the Environment. This includes technical memorandums covering climate change and sustainability planning, waste prevention, recycling, waste collection and more. The commission agreed to put a resolution adopting the county’s plan on next week’s consent agenda. We agreed that it would be a good idea to provide an educational presentation to the public about solid waste management efforts.
– Review of the contract addendum for the Driftwood Players lease at the Wade James Theater. Antillon said the lease, which has been running since 2017, expires at the end of the month and the Driftwood Players hope to renew for another five years. Edmonds does not charge nonprofit theater companies to use the theater, but the city is responsible for maintaining the building’s exterior, grounds, and parking. After discussing what would happen if the Driftwood Players chose to sub-lease the facility to another tenant, committee members Neil Tibbott and Dave Teitzel said that profits arising from such sub-leasing would be split 50/50 with the city. I requested that the language be added.
— Teresa Whippel