City sets Oct. 16 public hearing to study BIA

The Auburn City Council on Monday set a public hearing for Oct. 16 to examine an ordinance that governs the Business Improvement Area (BIA).

Formed in 1988, the BIA was designed to help kick up economic activity in the downtown by providing security for public spaces and sponsoring public events, among other things.

To make that happen, the City levied a special assessment against businesses inside the BIA, with some exemptions.

At the time, the City Council created a committee of rate payers composed of representatives of businesses within the geographic boundary of the BIA to make recommendations to the council for the use of the special assessment funds.

In the last 29 years, however, the ordinance and its exemptions grew white whiskered, resulting in years of inactivity.

Recently, business owners began efforts to revitalize the moribund BIA.

Recognizing the problems, the City has proposed an ordinance that creates a chapter within the city code for the BIA that updates and changes the provisions governing it, including modifications to exemptions to the special assessment.

By changing exemptions to the BIA special assessment, City leaders hope to address itinerant businesses, home occupations, large scale nonprofit organizations and nested businesses and make the rate of the special assessment uniform.

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