BY COUNCILOR NESS:
WHEREAS, the Greater Downtown Council (GDC) was incorporated as a private, nonprofit corporation in the state of Minnesota in 1984; and
WHEREAS, the mission statement of the GDC states that it is "dedicated to the development and promotion of a strong, healthy and exciting Downtown. The GDC is a catalyst and coordinator for enhancing the Downtown business climate through the public and private sectors. The GDC plays a unique role in bringing together business, community and government leaders to focus on Downtown issues"; and
WHEREAS, the city of Duluth and the Duluth economic development authority (DEDA) have both relied upon the GDC as a partner in addressing such Downtown issues; and
WHEREAS, the city and DEDA are represented on the GDC's board of directors; and
WHEREAS, the combined financial support to the GDC by the city and the DEDA for 2004 is $168,526; and
WHEREAS, from the GDC membership as well as from initiatives including the Economic Summit, the mayor's Downtown task force and the National Trust for Historic Preservation's preservation development initiative project, there is a call for heightened efforts to have a strong, healthy Downtown that includes residential, professional services, education, retail and entertainment; and
WHEREAS, the GDC is therefore seeking a long-term, proactive means of generating funds necessary to enhancing its services to the Downtown; and
WHEREAS, under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 428A, cities are authorized to adopt an ordinance establishing what is referred to as a special service district; and
WHEREAS, on January 28, 2003, the GDC board of directors voted to create a steering committee to review the feasibility of creating a special services district for Downtown Duluth; and
WHEREAS, an advisory panel through the International Downtown Association conducted an assessment of our community and provided recommendation that a special service district campaign be launched; and
WHEREAS, the GDC board of directors approved the report and recommendation; and
WHEREAS, the GDC board of directors has developed a special service district budget that will focus upon clean & safe issues, marketing/promotions/special events, and physical enhancements for a total special service district budget of $500,000; and
WHEREAS, the GDC will begin its public petition drive in early June 2004; and
WHEREAS, an estimated $262,000 will be generated from mandatory assessments within the district and an estimated $238,000 will be generated from voluntary payments made in lieu of assessments from those district property owners that are governmental and/or nonprofit; and
WHEREAS, this administration has expressed its continued support of the GDC and the desired outcomes of the proposed district; and
WHEREAS, it is the understanding that a voluntary payment by the city to the district would thereby eliminate, effective 2005, the funding that the city and DEDA have historically made to GDC.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Duluth City Council hereby states its intention to include in its 2005 annual budget an appropriation of $200,000 for its voluntary payment to the special service district.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: This resolution acknowledges that the GDC will begin the petition drive to establish the business improvement district in June. The city and DEDA have provided assistance to the downtown for several years in the amount of $84,263 each. Governments and nonprofits cannot be assessed under the enabling legislation for special improvement district. Several nonprofits have already offered voluntary contributions. The city's willingness to continue some level of financial support to the vitality of downtown is crucial to the succe3ss of the district. The administration is prepared to discuss with the council utilizing a portion of the new increment from the Downtown casino as a revenue source to cover the city contribution.