To: chip@seas... Sent: Mon, 09 Jan 2006 04:36:02 -0500
Subject: Re: [UC] NID/BID proposal and meeting
I am a small University City Landlord who will be affected by the creation of the NID. While I am in favor of additional services (such as street cleaning and additional security) provided at a reasonable additional cost I am concerned about the NID growing without restraint and increasing their mandate to a point where they are no longer cost effective.
I found Mr Buchholtz's questions relevant and I would like to add several of my concerns before the meeting in the hopes that the good features of the recommended "NID" can be achieved without the bad ones eventually becoming overwhelming.
My questions about the NID are : 1) What is the specific mandate for the NID? and after it is created how can we keep the NID from growing in scope and size? Is there a way to have voting rights for those that are paying the additional tax and to require some "super-majority" in order to make a change in the original mandate?
2) How will the budget for the NID be created and approved? Is there a way that there can be on-line voting and require that the budget must be approved before it takes effect.... otherwise the prior years' budget gets implemented?
3) Can the feature of "no taxation of owner occupied residential units" be written as part of the charter?
4) Is it feasible to have a volunteer manager to run the NID? or at least until it proves unworkable?
I see the NID as an organization whose need to exist only occurs when the larger City government fails to provide the services that it has been set up to provide. Our goal for the NID is not to let it deteriorate in its ability to provide services for the same reasons that the City is failing.
I do not need to provide too many examples to demonstrate that these type of organizations tend to grow like weed trees if not limited in some manner. Examples of this type of poorly administered organizations are the City of Phila and PGW. There is no real mandate for either and no real oversight of fiscal controls. There must be a way to give some kind of taxation with representation and since it will be small initially there should be some way to have it be managed by the constituents (much as our forefathers saw public service as a duty).
There are many other questions and possible solutions. I offer these suggestions as an opening for discussion.
I'm concerned that the NID/BID proposal may not be judged fairly,
because some aspects of the proposal are unclear. I would like to
hear these issues explained clearly and completely at the next
meeting. Often, during open "question and answer" sessions, there
isn't time to prepare a clear and complete answer to a surprise
question. I would like to present these questions in advance, so that
you can prepare clear and complete explanations for the next meeting.
1) If I understand correctly, the NID is considering charging only
those landlords with four or more units in the district, and that the
reasoning is that the cost of collecting the fees makes it impractical
to collect small fees. This issue is highly charged politically and
emotionally. Please clarify the issue, and present the numbers that
led to the four unit cut off: cost of fee collection, average fee for
a home-owner, etc.
2) It is difficult for people to support any additional real estate
expense in our current situation. Energy costs have increased
dramatically, and the real estate tax situation is up in the air.
People would feel more comfortable discussing increased real estate
expenses once the winter was over, and the real estate re-assessment
and tax rate adjustment was complete. Can the NID/BID proposal be
postponed until these other issues have been resolved? If not, please
explain the reasons.
3) Currently, the UCD receives significant funding from the major
non-profit businesses in the district. What assurances do we have
that this voluntary support will not be withdrawn if the NID/BID is
created? Do we have signed agreements holding the non-profits to
maintain their current funding level in the event that the NID/BID is
approved? Is there a time limit on these agreements? Can the NID/BID
be approved with the same time limit, eg, if Penn agrees to maintain
funding for the UCD for five years in the event that the NID/BID is
approved, then the NID/BID is approved for five years only, and must
be re-approved at that time.
4) How will the goals and mission of the BID/NID be set and managed?
Who gets to vote, and what is the procedure (ie, one dollar one vote,
one unit one vote, one person one vote, annually, bi-annually, only
once when the NID/BID is approved).
5) What is the process by which the BID/NID will be approved? What
opportunities will the landlords in the district have to influence the
decision? What opportunities will the residents in the district have
to influence the decision?
I look forward to hearing the answers to these questions at the next
4434 Chestnut Street
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