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LA MESA -- It was Week II of the new, slimmer Property Based Improvement District planning and the lesson was clear: Less Is Not More.
The team of merchants and property owners trying to come up with a plan acceptable to a majority of Village property owners started getting a feel for the impact of greatly reducing the size of the proposed assessment district. With roughly half the area of the original proposal, the new district would generate about half as much money to fund maintenance, security and marketing efforts.
It was clear the group would have to make some tough decisions in paring back the amount they would be asking property owners to pay each year.
Lynn McRea, the PBID committee chairwoman, estimated the new, slimmer PBID area would generate about $185,000 using the formula used to determine assessments in the original PBID effort proposed more than a year ago. That is far less than the $378,000 in the group's original budget.
Looking over the budget, the group made the cuts quickly, completely eliminating $60,000 for increased security and $50,000 for special projects and amenities. The group then cut maintenance from $65,000 to about $40,000 and cut marketing by 50 percent to $50,000.
The group insisted the organization would need a full-time executive and left $100,000 in its operations and administration budget to fund that office. The PBID supporters believe a full-time executive would inject the professionalism needed to generate more fundraising and more profitable events from the city's quaint business district promotions.
As the group assessed the somewhat anemic feel of the reduced budget, several people suggested the group revisit the data to see if there could be more revenue generated if the assessments were based on business licenses within the district, rather than individual property parcels -- essentially shifting to a Business Improvement District, rather than a property based district.
McRea agreed to review the numbers again, but reminded the group that an effort to establish a BID some years back was roundly rejected by the business owners. "That's why we've been looking more closely at the PBID this time around,'' McRea said.
The group will meet again next Monday at 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of La Mesa to continue looking at details of expenses and reviewing estimates of assessments property owners would be asked to pay to help fund extra maintenance and marketing efforts in the Village.