The city commissioners on Monday agreed to review a proposal presented by the local Chamber that would establish a new business-improvement district in the city centered on the operation of hotels and motels in Madison.
Eric Hortness, executive director of the Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, presented a resolution to create a Business Improvement District No. 1 in Madison that would include property that is zoned and used for hotels, motels and lodging establishments.
Hortness said the lodging operators in BID No. 1 would collect fees -- amounting to $2 per room per night -- to fund improvement projects. He added that out-of-town travelers staying at the motels and hotels would pay the per-night fees.
Hortness presented the city commissioners with a petition signed by operators of three lodging establishments in Madison -- AmericInn, Super 8 and Best Western -- asking for a hearing by the city to create a business-improvement district. A hearing announcement provided with the BID resolution proposed holding a hearing at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 21 at City Hall.
If the BID proposal is passed by the Madison City Commission, the mayor would have -- with the approval of the city commission -- the authority to appoint a business-improvement board consisting of property owners, residents, business operators or users of space within the business area that is selected for improvements.
The city commissioners would designate the boundaries of the business area prior to the appointment of the board. The BID board would make recommendations to the city commissioners for the establishment of a plan or plans for improvements in the business area.
State law allows communities to impose a special-assessment tax upon the property within a business-improvement district in the municipality. The notice of intent for creating a BID is expected to include the method of raising revenue and assure that the method is fair and equitable. If the occupational tax is based on rooms rented by a lodging establishment, the tax imposed on the transient guest may not exceed $2 per occupied room per night.
The proposed tax is calculated to generate between $50,000 to $100,000 each year.
Upon receiving a recommendation from the business-improvement board, the city commissioners could create one or more business improvement districts by adopting a resolution of intent to establish a district or districts. The resolution would contain BID-related information that includes:
-- The proposed public facilities and improvements to be made or maintained within any such district.
-- The proposed or estimated costs for improvements, facilities and activities within a BID and the method by which the revenue is raised.
-- If a special assessment is proposed, the resolution should also state the proposed method of assessment.
By state law, any revenue generated by the businesses in the BID is available for use for any one or more of the following purposes:
-- The construction or installation of convention or event centers, pedestrian shopping malls or plazas, sidewalks, parks, meeting and display facilities, lighting, benches, sculptures, trash receptacles, shelters and pedestrian and vehicular overpasses and underpasses, or any useful or necessary public improvement.
-- The acquisition, construction, maintenance and operation of public off-street parking facilities for the benefit of the district area.
-- Improvement of any public place or facility in the district area, including landscaping.
-- Leasing, acquiring, constructing, reconstructing, extending, maintaining or repairing parking lots or parking garages.
-- Creation and implementation of a plan for improving the general architectural design of public areas in the district area.
-- The development of any activities and promotion of the district area.
-- Maintenance, repair and reconstruction of any improvements or facilities authorized by related state laws.
-- Any other project or undertaking for the betterment of the facilities in the district area.
-- Employing persons or contracting for personnel, including administrators for any improvement or promotional program related to the business-improvement district.
Hortness said the commissioners would need to conduct a first reading of the BID resolution. He suggested that city officials schedule the first reading on Dec. 14.